Posts Tagged ‘skipping’

Skipping Sister

December 8, 2015

I’m looking back 60 years here – to 1955. We have a picture of my sister skipping on Ifield Green.


My sister died last year. She just made it to her three score years and ten.

Back in 1955 Ifield Green was unfenced from surrounding roads which, of course, were almost devoid of motorised traffic. It made a lovely playground for youngsters, offering the space a small cottage garden didn’t have. A young girl could skip across the field to her heart’s content. The green was common land. It belonged to its community.

These days the green is still there but has been suburbanised and organised – like so much of life for children.

People looking at the photo can hardly fail to notice the industrial building with the big chimney behind sister. Yes, it had been involved in rural industry for this was the steam powered corn mill in Ifield. Just behind this view of that mill there stood the remains of a roundhouse which had been at the bottom of a windmill and by this time the steam mill was joining it in a state of dereliction.

I recall feeling really quite sad when the chimney was demolished although it probably was unsafe. The steam engine mechanism was preserved and for many a year was on display in London’s Science Museum although I believe it may be in Germany now.

The building, though, was resurrected and became the headquarters of the local Nautical Training Corps. I have no idea what function it serves now.

I suspect, and indeed hope, all children think they lived through the golden age for childhood. I am 100% certain that I did. We regarded the world and our community as safe and secure, we were free spirits who could roam at will. We met and chatted with adults we knew. They weren’t a threat to us. Life was a happy and glorious adventure – full of fun and the love of a family.

My skipping sister just seems to catch that happy spirit.