Chester-le-Street Heritage Group
Nelson Street Memories.
I was born at the beginning of the war in a two bed roomed house in Nelson Street. This was a short street of five houses situated at the bottom of West Lane. The house had a yard at the back and a small garden at the front which was across the other side of the road. Nelson Street Garage now stands in what was our garden. One end of the street was blocked off by large gates leading into Young’s Garage, but fortunately the entrance wasn’t used very much so our front street was quite safe. At the other end was Colley’s Taxi business in Nelson House. My earliest memory is being carried across the road into the Anderson Air Raid Shelter, inside there was a form down each side where we sat. My mother said that she told us stories and did quizzes to keep us occupied. My two elder sisters wore siren suits; these were an all in one jumpsuit with a zip down the front, as you can imagine they were difficult to struggle out of if you were in a hurry to use the loo, so my mother cut a flap in the back and fastened it with two buttons. My sister also had a Mickey Mouse Gas Mask which fortunately she never had occasion to wear.
My mother always remembered to take her crocheted bag with her; this had a zip along the top to make sure that nothing dropped out, and contained all her important documents, Rent Book, Insurance Policies, Birth Certificates and of course our Identity Cards. We wore Identity Bracelets with our name engraved on one side and our Identity number on the reverse, which we had to learn off by heart. Later this number was used as your National Health Number when the 1948 Health Act came into force.
Welfare Clinic, (which is now a Nursery) mothers with prams stood in long queues outside, waiting to swap their milk tokens for a tin of National Baby Milk Powder. We were also taken there to be immunised.
Reminiscence by Bunty for the Friends of CLS Heritage Group April 2012
1940s Childhood - Part 2.
A MICKEY MOUSE GAS MASK