1964: Mental maps

Saturday 4th April 1964

To add a bit of variety this week’s diary takes the form of a more modern method of confirming places and events in history. As a six year old my time and space would have been limited by my parent’s and my own interests. I would have a very imperfect view of my local environment but I would have perception of places in MY WORLD.

Mental maps have been a tool to compare and contrast places in space and time. When one draws a mental map it has to be done free hand and doesn’t need to be in scale. They will, by design, give more detail of places and things that are more important to the drawer. Here I have set myself a ten minute deadline to quickly sketch out the places and people I would have known when I was 6 years old. More detail, for example of other residents of Albert Road, would be easier and more precisely recorded in older mental maps. Here I give the maps and attached notes to explain my six year old thoughts.

Albert Road sketch

albert road picbecame

Map 1

Albert Road

albert road mental map

If someone had recorded my comments on the map they might have been like this:-

My House

Downstairs our house has a living room, kitchen and dining room. It is connected by a hall which has a space under the stairs where the singer sewing machine lives. We had a wall at the front which is the side of Findlay’s shed and another one at the back for Mrs Withers house. Dad doesn’t like us playing against the back wall because the ball goes in the flower beds. At the front we play all sorts of games like bouncing balls of the wall. There was an orchard at the bottom of our garden that has loads of plum trees and loads of wasps.

The map shows the houses and families of families that had children we knew and played with. If they didn’t have children to play with they were good friends of Mum or Dad and we went there at times to visit.

Going along the street:-

  • Griffins – Kim likes horses and wins loads of gymkhana prizes. Carol is nice as her Mum. Trevor, her Dad shouts a lot.
  • Finlays – Selwyn skips a lot in the back garden. It is easy to get the ball back from their back garden but we have to watch out for the dog.
  • Mrs Withers – Angela lives here. Everyone says she is very pretty.
  • Norman Hawkins and family – Nornor is a very strict man and Paul is his boy. Mrs Hawkins is a nurse and not very nice to me.
  • Ian Barton lives at No 12. He is a good footballer and one of the gang.
  • The Taylors. If the ball goes in their garden and you get caught by Mrs Taylor then the game is over so we play six and out in our games at the lamp post. Tats Taylor is someone to watch out for. He will nick the ball and that will end our game as well.
  • Spam (Steven) and Arkle (Rickie) live at the Hamiltons. The Hamiltons are our best friends in the Road. Mr Hamilton talks a lot and very loudly. He works on the docks. Mrs Hamilton is always in our house talking.
  • Mills-Glanville plays with us in our games of football against Hamilton’s hedge.
  • Williams– Susan lives here. She is in my class at school. She has a very freckly face.
  • Smiths – I think there are lots of people living there but they don’t play with us very much.
  • Edwards – watch out for Raymond- he is even harder than Tat’s Taylor
  • Johnsons Maimie Johnson is a nice lady
  • Liftons – Mrs Lifton is Mum’s friend from church. When Mr Lifton drives on our road we have to stop playing cricket or football. He doesn’t like us playing stones when his car goes past. He says it will ruin his paint when we miss. We just run off when he stops the car.
  • Cliffords Mrs Clifford is another friend of Mum’s. She has a boy called Lewis but he isn’t allowed to play with us.
  • Padburys Billy and John are the twins who do play with us. They are both called Twinny because no one can tell them apart.
  • Whites– Tubs plays drums in the evenings. Barry is one of Alan and Val’s friends. Gina is very nice to me.
  • Boltons– They are friends of my Mum.
  • Meachins – Hazel is in my class at school. She is very nice. Colin is very funny and plays very funny games at home. He doesn’t come out to play though. The Meachin’s have a farm on the other side of the field. They know everything there is to know about cows.
  • Coxs – There are loads of people living here. Dad goes to see Mr Cox in the afternoons.
  • Carpenters –Nellie Carpenter sings in the Bright Hour with my Mum. Horace has a Black Car.
  • Worlocks – They shout at us when we do our racing around the block. We now shout louder when we turn the corner to say we are on the last bit of the lap.
  • The Telephone Box This is the start and finish point of the race around the block.

sketches 2 and 3


severn beach mental ap

My Severn Beach Map

If I was to show people around my Severn Beach world it might go like this.

At the end of our road is the Playing Field. The Pavilion is made of wood and has a space underneath which is great for hiding in. We play football and cricket in the fields. Next to this is a shed with lots of chalk in the old plaster sheets that are hidden there. We also hang around by the roller when the others are on their way to play. At the top of the field is a ditch and a hedge that is good for dens. We built one in the top corner. When they are playing football the ball goes in the ditch and it is fun to get the ball back for them. On Sundays we sometimes go bird nesting across the fields towards Easter Compton. There are bomb craters (Dew ponds) and nests where Spam gets eggs to blow for his collection.

On summer days we go to church across the field. There is a scout hut and I might be going to be a cub when I am old enough. On Church Road is Mrs Hopkins house. She is German and very shouty. Crunchie lives at the Marshall’s house. Next Door is Mr Winters. He is friends of ours but I have to keep that quiet because he shouts at everyone when the ball goes in his garden. He grows marrows at the bottom of his garden. I don’t know why he just doesn’t grow them somewhere else.

Sunnyland’s Camp and Hallett’s camp are holiday camps for people who visit in summer. It has chalets and camping grounds. I don’t go there at all. I don’t go to the Beach Hotel. It is very very noisy. It does have the best football wall though and when the car park is empty you can kick it miles off their wall. The field opposite is where we have the bonfire. It is also the place where the fair goes when they are here. When they do get here we have to watch out for boys trying to nick stuff and getting in to fights. I never saw anyone nick anything though and Danny Dawkins is my friend. I haven’t had a fight with anyone. I think they just don’t like Gypsies.

Next is the station. You have to watch trains crossing the road. The station has a very echoey roof. Next door is Gormley’s where I go to get Woodbines for my Dad. Then is Shirley’s café. I never go there now. She is a witch and doesn’t like me in her shop. She says all of us in Albert Road can only come in one at a time and I think she is mad. Then comes the Dodgems that smells of electric.

George Shufflebottom is in my class in school. He knows lots about the fairground and slot machines. Opposite is Sellick’s chip shop and a tea room that isn’t used much. The shops are now a paper shop, Post Office, Hopkins Green Grocer, Sellick’s wool shop, Webb’s the Butcher, Andy Elliott’s Stores.

At the top of the bank is the cabins with ice creams and beach stuff then the swimming pool. If you go along the wall you will get to the boating lake. It has a train that goes by the lake. It is the best place to go in summer.  At the end of the wall you get to Millers farm and the Sunday school. We go to the shaft to play on the beach at the Bubbly.

sketch 4

wider area pic


wider mental map of 6 yo

The Wider World

  • The furthest I knew was probably my Granny’s House in Station Road. We got a bus to Swanmoor Gout and walked along the road past Mrs Kettle’s house.
  • Pilning School is next to the railway line on the way to the station.
  • Dr Rushton lives on the lane at the bottom of the railway bridge on the way to Northwick.
  • Clem’s is the barber shop. He has an electric train to cut your hair and loads of pictures of old football teams in Pilning.
  • Auntie Mary isn’t really my Auntie. Mary Ball is Mum’s longest friend and is Gerald’s Godmother. Her house is very small and dark but she is very kind and always smiles.
  • The Redwick stores is where we go to get stuff that isn’t in the shops at the beach.

Next up 1965 Good Friday 16th April


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