The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett
This coloured frontispiece by the great Eve Garnett from The London Child by Evelyn Sharp, published in 1927. Eve Garnett was a total heroine of my young life. I must have read The Family from One End Street forty or fifty times. I borrowed the sequel from the library at least twenty times.
When I was young we would meet in the local libraries, sometimes to do homework but mostly just to socialise and enjoy the books. Our local park’s side entrance was opposite the library in Pinner. Wet days meant the library and dry days meant the park. Until we were old enough to get on the bus or a train that was what we did.
I was allowed out on my own from the age of six. In fact I believe the adults in the 1960s seemed very happy not to spend much time with us. Parents and children had far more time apart then. I don’t think it was any better or worse but it was different.
We were told off for losing gloves and making holes in our jeans – we had so few items of clothing then. The idea of having something as valuable as a phone or iPad would have been unbelievable. Conkers and bikes, jacks and French skipping, British Bulldog and playgrounds with concrete to fall off the climbing frames onto. Actually it all seems much nicer now.
I suppose 8 – 12 year olds will no longer meet in libraries (sigh) but apart from that the UK seems much more child centred and child-friendly as the years go by.