Growing-up With Southall From 1904 (Memories of R.J. Meads)


Childhood Games 

                         When I look back now remembering all the jobs we were made to do it seems impossible that we had any time to play at all. Playing along the “hedge”, our name for the left hand side of Avenue Road, a favourite was “tin can copper”. A bashed up tin with a stone in it would be thrown from the base of a lamp-post and everyone except the “copper” would dash away and hide. he would recover the tin, leave it at the base and go looking for us and in doing so would rattle the tin and shout out the name of the one seen. If possible someone would try to get to the tin, which would again be thrown, thus releasing all caught. “Tip-cat” was played with a large stick, and a small piece about 6 inches long. This was placed on a stone at an angle, and when struck hard would fly into the air. The winner would be the one to make it go the farthest. Then there were iron hoops with skimmers. 

                          Marbles – there were several games played with these, including “Strikem”, played along the gutter  or with a marble board. This was made with a piece of wood with holes of various sizes cut into it arch fashion. Each had marble value; small hole 3, large hole 2. Played on the pavement, the idea was to get the kids to bowl up and win – and of course so many in a ring each and knuckle down tight to knock them out, each taking a turn. 

                           Conkers – how we tried all sorts of ways to make them tough, and lie without batting an eyelid that it was a “fourer” or more and “stringems” 1 2 3 ” if getting twisted up. 

                            Tops were very popular, peg tops on which you wound the string round the top and through it, thus making it spin, and whip tops. With these you had to have a whip. You started the top spinning with your hands, and whipped it to keep it spinning. 

                             Dabs ( or, five stones ) – these could be purchased for 1 penny a set of six. They were china, about  3/4-inch long, ½-inch square. The game was to throw one up in the air and do all sorts of tricks with the others. This game could be played indoors.