|Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.
Teenage YearsIn my teens I was never bored attending the Methodist Church. In the downstairs schoolroom we had Bagatelle and table tennis and we could go there in the evenings Monday to Friday. The church also hired two tennis courts at Drayton Manor with members paying half a guinea (10/6 old money) for a season.
Tamworth had two cinemas and both had a coffee bar in later years. The old Palace had a side entrance with dimly lit gas lamps and had a Saturday matinee, admission 1d and 2d. If you did not get a 2d balcony seat, you got pelted with monkey nut shells from above. The commissionaire would shout order and evict a few children. I saw Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Fatty Arbuckle, Pearl White and Tom Mix, the cowboy in films mostly at the Grand.
For the anti war film 'All Quiet on the Western Front' starring Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels, a searchlight was operated from the theatre roof, something we would get used to seeing when the war started.
The recreation playing field was a poor affair situated at the bottom of the Tamworth road bridge, no swings, not even any goal posts for football, we used our jackets. Youths of 14 to 18 years who worked in the numerous coal mines and still in their work clothes and with blackened faces would come for the football kickabout. As they were wearing steel hobnailed boots, it was best to evade their tackles.
About a quarter of the field was under water with reeds growing. There was also a plant with fern like leaves and with our scout knives we would dig up the entire plant until until we came to the roots. There were nodules on them which we called 'pig nuts' and we would eat them, a useful supplement when we were hungry.
If we had not got a penny for a sherbet dip, we had a stick of rhubarb and some sugar in a screw of newspaper. There were no obese children at school and certainly none during the wartime rationing.