Dear Diary – Page 9 (Mid 1950’s – Birmingham)

My school photo 1954. I would be around 7-1/2 years old.

1954 Colin

The only grandparent I ever knew was by Grandmother (Gran) on my Dad’s side of the family. My Grandfather on my Dad’s side had passed away many years earlier, as had both my Mum’s parents.

Our vacations at that time would consist of Valerie and I staying with Gran for a few weeks in the Summer. She lived in Birmingham in a large terraced house with lots of rooms which she rented to people from the local theatrical companies. She prepared breakfasts and dinners for her guests and, while we were there, we were allowed to help!

To get us to Birmingham, Mum would take us to Peterborough East (railway) Station and “hand us over” to the Guard on the train. He would take care of us during the 3 hour journey and would stay with us until we were “claimed” by our Gran at Birmingham New Street Station

We would then take a bus to get from Birmingham New Street Station to Gran’s house, and it was exciting to ride in a Birmingham Corporation blue and white bus! They were quite different from the red Eastern Counties buses that served Peterborough. They looked different and sounded different. I guess I noticed those kinds of things!

A quote from some nostalgia notes by Valerie is interesting:

“Trust you to remember the buses! I didn’t remember the color scheme at all. I do remember sitting up top at the front, with our sandwiches, for the long trip round the Outer Circle. One way of getting rid of us for a decent time I suppose, but we loved it. Oh the independence of those far off days!”

1950s Birmingham2Photo courtesy of Outer Circle Bus – Historic Bus Tours

One can only imagine the dialogue between a 10 year old girl and her 7 year old brother as they watched the world go by from the front seats, upper level, of a “double deck” bus. I don’t know how long it would have taken for a bus to complete the Outer Circle route, but would guess at around 2 hours.

Update: The Outer Circle Bus people have advised me that the Outer Circle (no 11) bus takes about two & a half hours to completely circumnavigate the route, however at busy times it takes as much as three hours.There are 233 bus stops so much of that time is spent stationary.

15 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 9 (Mid 1950’s – Birmingham)

  1. I would not mind traveling back in time (I was born in 1951) just for a peek every now and then. I recently read the Stephen King novel 11.22.63 dealing with time travel – I was fascinated with his description of life in the USA during the 50s.

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  2. Those were the days, as I too can remember being ‘left in charge’ with the guard on the train, but that was at the age of 11 when I would go from Bournemouth to Southampton to babysit for my other brother. Bus rides were exciting….. I loved the double deckers with the long bench seats upstairs and learned to identify that particular ‘style’ from the square number plate rather than a long one. The things we remember as a child!

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