When I was 10 years old – by Vic Collins #weareten #wheniwasten

2 June 2011 | by Rob Greenwood

Aged 10, life was uncomplicated and full of great expectations.  News and world events were far from my mind, a bag of chips and a bottle of Tizer would make a day on the beach in Cleveleys just great.

My parents were always busy working and I was free to roam, I would travel miles on my home made bicycle to what I thought were far off places like Poulton and Lytham St Anne’s. I would take it across the river Wyre on the "Knot End Ferry" to Skipool Creek were I would sit and talk to the fishermen and boat owners for hours.

Nobody ever had any fears about leaving kids on their own like they do today.  I was always wanting to go further to more strange places but a little concerned about getting home before dark and the parents worrying.

I was a complete day dreamer with seemingly not a care in the world .  Top of the hit parade was the Everly Brothers "all I have to do is dream", I also loved "rocking Robin" by Bobby Day.

A little money and independence is always on the mind of a 10year old boy. Living in Cleveleys and the Blackpool area I learned to keep myself solvent on local activities.  My parents ran a boarding house of Seven bedrooms along with hundreds of other Landladies in Thornton Cleveleys area; every Saturday would bring a feast of “visitors” as they were called, moving out and moving in. In those days before smart packing they brought with them heavy suitcases which they had to carry through the streets of the town to their accommodation. The local coach station was full of coaches from Oldham, Bolton, Bury and Manchester.

There was as many 20 plus youngsters like me vying to take their heavy cases to the boarding house.  We all had makeshift trolleys, usually old pram wheels with two or three planks bolted on; we accepted whatever we were given - 3d or 6d (240d to £1) - and some more generous people gave a shilling. The other way to get money was to trawl the amusement arcades (up to approximately 100 of them) along the "Golden Mile" to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Always carrying a long flat stick we used to sweep the ground under the slot machines for dropped loose change.

Another way was a skilll that some of us perfected called  “nudging”.  In those days "one armed bandits" were mechanical before electronics came in; we would put a penny in, not pushing the handle fully down, nudging the  "three cherries" or "bells" into line by clicking  very gently with the handle (a bit like a safe cracker). Of course we frequently got clipped around the ear and chased out by the attendants. A day cruising the amusement arcades could produce as much as half a crown and up to five shillings (2 x ½ crown).

Yes I could say they were happy care free days in 1958!

Vic Collins, Financial Director[gallery link="file"]

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