Do you remember going to the cinema and paying with a jam jar, a piece of lead pipe, tin cans, or rags .... Or?
In the 1930s, those Depression years, and during the War – children could gain entry to the Matinee cinema performance by paying with a jam jar!!
Children came from all around, usually on bicycles if they were in the country, eager to join the queue – every effort was made to earn or have the 2p admission ... but, if not, a jam jar would do!
Extra farthings, half-pennies or pennies went towards sweets, oranges or buns ... Ice-creams only becoming available from the usherette in the middle of the 20th Century when refrigeration became cheaper.
|A farthing - 1/4 of a Penny
The Corporation trucks would collect the jam jars to go to the jam factory; the rags and rabbit skins would go to be cleaned and made into rough blankets; the tin cans and lead pipe were headed to the aircraft factories .... all legitimate for the War effort.
The glass collection continued on into the 1970s when beer and pop bottles were collected and returned for cash ... great for pocket money and/or recycling.
|The Curzon Cinema Eastbourne:
opened its doors in 1913
Nutty neighbours? – well one man used to tell the local kids that he would go to the cinema and pay with a jam jar – they assumed he was off his rocker or nuts ... he was usually - but just not with this particular remembrance!
One question – if the jam jars were at the cinema: “Where did the children keep their minnows and sticklebacks?”
|Large! minnow in jam jar!
This raised a point with my honorary goddaughter D – as mentioned in my last post ... she reminded me of the time when (her twin) Amy and Simon came down with their mother and Gogo (grandma) to stay. They must have been 8 and 5 at the time .... when we went to see my uncle.
Derek’s big garden was wonderful for children – lots of shrubs to run around amongst, trees to hide behind, the raised house with its ‘stoop’ (African balcony) for us to sit on and have tea – keeping an ever watchful eye on darting youngsters.
|Similar full bordered pond to
Then right in front my aunt had dug a huge pond – she was petite, probably less than 5 feet, which to clean (my uncle told me!) she took off her clothes and went in up to her neck to sort it out! She had fisherman’s waders for the lighter jobs!
This pond was a relative monster having been based on a Dew Pond ... my aunt was a perfectionist ... and it had been very well constructed (a necessity coming from an engineering family). She had planted it with rushes, water lilies, added goldfish and Koi ... it was a lovely sight from our balcony vantage point ...
There was a slightly wobbly path running around the back, with a tall, full border of perennial shrubs – azaleas, roses, et al (can’t remember in other words!). Not really room for adults and kids ... but that’s the way it goes.
|Public Pond - Yacht Racing
Derek had all the mod cons out – or ancient much loved relics of childhoods gone ... two model sail boats ... that would get marooned in the middle and our tall stick couldn’t reach them ... til the wind blew them free.
The kids delighted in these running around, rescuing the ships out of the rushes, darting to the back as they sailed further out of reach to the far shore .....
.... then a Cri de Coeur – Hilly, Hilly ... can we have a jam jar? Why? There’s fishes here and we want to catch them ... oh look there’s babies too .... oh, oh please can we have some jar jars ...
Fish in the Faroe Islands:
Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) –
Faroese stamp issued 7 February 1994
... so jam jars they had – poor fish extracted from their watery living quarters to be fair and square deposited on the hot paving slabs of that path ... where they slithered unhappily ... as the kids squealed and screamed with delight.
A good memory from D of happy days in Derek’s garden ... which ties in well with Jam Jars ... so the chap was right to question – but what about the sticklebacks and minnows .... ours didn’t last long as they quietly ‘fried alive’ .. my sloshing with water didn’t help much I don’t think!
Still these are good laughter memories – the jam jar trip to the cinema – was new to me ... as well as D’s remembrance of another time over at Derek’s .. that resonates very happily in her mind to this day .... so Jam Jars too have stories to tell.
Quick update on my mother ... I think presents trigger her interest! Christmas Day went .. but Boxing Day she came too and I asked if she wanted to open some presents ... we did – and she raised her head up trying to look round me to see what I was doing as I was setting something up – quizzy as ever, not wanting to miss out!
|Garden Dew Pond with water lilies
She was really interested ... and then I read the cards and Christmas notes/letters I had up in her room ... but that was enough. The main thing she was happy and interested ... and today I read some of my A – Z short blog posts ... we read A – D ... not bad.
My Dew Pond post ...
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories