NEW for OLD

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
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“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron (1809–92)


New for Old - Aladdin
There can be no life without change - that is a 'truism'.
But for most of the time change occurs almost unnoticeably.
We grow older, and we change slowly but almost imperceptibly.
And everything around us also changes - almost imperceptibly.
But there are times when change comes violently, and quickly - in such cases as war, revolution or certain acts of nature.
The title, of course, comes from a line in the story of Aladdin - where the wicked sorcerer, Abanezer, tricks Aladdin's wife into giving him 'the lamp' by offering 'new for old'.



PETE CHANGES

'Our Peter', of course was, to some extent still 'Peter Pan'.
His 'experiences' with his cousin, Norman and Norman's boy-friend, Jackie, had slammed Pete back into a personality that was unable to cope with 'so called' adult 'obsessions'.
Today, the results of his abuse would be described as 'traumatic stress disorder'.
The usual 'defense' in such circumstances is to  'dissociate' parts of an individual's identity - thus producing a condition that psychiatrists like to describe as 'dissociative identity disorder'.
Matters, at this stage were not helped by Pete perceiving that he had been apparently 'abandoned' by Jane, (who had been in hospital), and John, who had remained in Hounslow while Pete had been 'shunted off' to York Street, in London.
Pete enjoyed what he always remembered as a 'golden summer' in London, which later turned into a somewhat foggy autumn - but he still, to some extent felt abandoned.
York Street
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Eventually, Jane came back from hospital, and Pete came back from York Street.
Despite his 'underlying' sense of 'abandonment', however, Pete had wanted to get back home, although he was also loath to leave his 'new home' in London.
And the strange thing was that he hadn't really missed Jane - (and why had jane been 'away' for so long ?) - or even been concerned for her - he had been too busy enjoying his new life.
While 'little Pete' may have felt 'abandoned', Pete's new, and more 'adult' identity had enjoyed his time in London.
This new 'adult' identity, which had begun tentatively after his initial abuse, was to co-exist with Pete's more 'childlike' identity, and the apparent incompatibility (and 'dissociation') between the two identities was to disturb many who came into contact with Pete over the years, but also fascinate and intrigue many others.
Jane disliked this new aspect to Pete's 'personality', while John gave the impression that he was not really aware of the change.
It should, of course, be remembered that at this time, (end of the 1950's), there was little understanding on the part of parents, doctors (GPs) or schools of children's possible psychiatric disorders - and it should be remembered that Pete was already autistic (but had been thought to have been simply a little backward - although this was no longer the case).
Pete's autism may well have been the reason why his biological parents abandoned him, but in actuality his autism was not disabling, and was subsequently (but much, much later) diagnosed as Asperger's Syndrome.
So who was this new identity that had emerged after Pete's experience of sexual abuse ?
There was a writer who had written a story which contained the name of 'our Pete's' initial personality.


J.D. Salinger
 'The Catcher in the Rye'.
That writer was J.D. Salinger, (always called 'Sonny' by his family), and the story was entitled 'The Last and Best of the Peter Pans' - perhaps a good description of 'our Peter' in some respects.
J.D. Salinger (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American writer who is known for his widely-read novel, 'The Catcher in the Rye'. Following his early success publishing short stories and 'Catcher in the Rye', Salinger led a very private life for more than a half-century. 'The Last and Best of the Peter Pans' was probably written in the early 1940s. The story centers on a conversation between Vincent Caulfield, (brother of  Holden Caulfield), and his mother.
Like Pete, Salinger suffered from 'post traumatic stress disorder', (although it was not known by that description at the time), as a result of his wartime experiences when serving in the US Army in Europe.
It is also more than likely that this 'post traumatic stress disorder' resulted in a 'dissociative identity disorder', as he was often reported as referring to himself (initially known as 'Sonny', and subsequently known as 'Jerry'), as Holden Caulfield - the main character in 'The Catcher in the Rye'.
Pete as Holden Caulfield
Central Park - New York - Winter 2017
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Holden Caulfield (born c.1933) is the fictional teenage protagonist and narrator of the 1951 novel 'The Catcher in the Rye'. (Pete was 'adopted' in 1950). Holden is naive, and at the same time resentful of the adult world. One of Holden's most striking and quintessential qualities is his powerful revulsion for "phony" qualities, a catch-all term for the perceived hypocrisy that irritates Holden. It is this cynicism that causes him to distance himself from other people, despite wanting connection as well. Holden is very much a character of contradiction, and admits that he often acts more like a 13-year-old, (Pete's probable age at this time), than an adult.
'Our Peter's' 'dissociated identity' - newly coming to the fore as he entered his teenage years, was in many respects similar to that of  Holden Caulfield (see above).
Pete, of course, had not read 'The Catcher in the Rye' at this point, although he could have probably coped with it, as his reading was, by then, excellent, and beyond his chronological age.
This however, made no difference.
Holden Caulfield was 'of the time', and so was Pete, who by then, like Holden, was in many ways 'resentful of the adult world' (those over 30), and considered most of them to be "phony" (see above).

BACK TO HOUNSLOW & A NEW HOME

Jane stayed in bed for a couple of weeks after Pete came home, and Pete felt somewhat neglected.
Eventually Jane resumed her usual life, and things, for a short while, got back to some sort of normality, however, Jane made it very clear that she felt that she had 'lost' her 'little boy', and it was obviously that she did not like the 'new Pete'.
Then there was a visit to a building site - which was strange - and Pete realized that they were going to see their new home, which was in the process of being built.
They spent the afternoon tracing the  foundations, and deciding where the various rooms would be.
Pete was pleased to discover that he was to have a larger bedroom, and there would be a larger garden.
The house was further away from school than their previous home, so Pete would have to either take a bus, or cycle to school on his fabulous 'Dawes Domino'.
Meanwhile, John 'measured-up' all the rooms - but why ?
Well, Pete soon found out when they all went, on Saturday, to the 'Times Furnishing'.


Times Furnishing
The 'Times Furnishing' was a large shop in Hounslow High Street selling high quality furniture.
Now Jane and John lived in a home that seemed to be caught in a 1930s 'time warp', but this was not unusual, as the war (Second World War) had left most of the population with homes that were decorated and contained furnishings from that time.
During the war everyone was concerned with simply staying alive, and not being 'bombed out'.
Any new furnishings or decorating materials were obviously reserved for those who had lost their homes - so those who were lucky enough to still have homes just had to 'make do and mend' as they were always saying during the war, and for many years after.
So, after the war, post war 'austerity' had made it difficult to modernize their homes, and it was only in the second half of the Fifties decade that people had access to, and the means to buy, more contemporary goods.
What Peter didn't realize was that, despite seemingly living in a 'time-warp', Jane and John, in fact, had always been - that is in the nineteen twenties and thirties - 'modern' people, appreciating the latest styles and innovations.


Times Furnishing Advertisement
Now, having decided to move, there was a chance for them to 'catch up'.
In the late Fifties there was only one good furniture shop in Hounslow - good but expensive - and that was the 'Times'.
Buying your furniture on 'hire purchase' was the unique selling point of the 'Times Furnishing Company', begun by Jewish entrepreneur John Jacobs, which traded out of High Holborn. 
They had numerous stores in London, and some other parts of the country.
Coincidentally, during the 1930s there was a rapid expansion in owner-occupied housing.
For the first time large numbers of people were buying new houses, particularly in the South of the country.
Large retailers like 'Times' pursued aggressive marketing campaigns that both legitimized buying on credit, whilst at the same time they sold the dream that home ownership equaled 'happiness' (if only it did).
Moving out of rented furnished accommodation meant there was a need for many to completely refurnish a new home.
In order to facilitate this, hire purchase became the 'norm', and 'terms' would encourage customers to furnish now and pay later, - however - as we have seen before, what attracted John to the 'Times' was the quality of its 'top of the range' furniture, rather than the 'hire purchase', which John never used as a matter of principal.
So - when they arrived at the Times, Jane and John immediately started looking at G-Plan Furniture.

G-Plan Logo

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
G-Plan was a pioneering range of furniture produced by E Gomme Ltd of High Wycombe.
In 1943, during World War II, furniture was part of rationing in the United Kingdom; the Board of Trade set up the 'Utility Scheme', which limited costs and the types of furniture on sale.
A small number of simple designs were available in oak or mahogany.
This scheme ended in December 1952.
This, combined with the Festival of Britain led to a pent-up demand for more modern furniture.
In 1953, Donald Gomme, the designer at E Gomme, decided to produce a range of modern furniture for the entire house, which could be bought piece by piece according to budgets. 
Advertising was part of the plan from the beginning.
The name was coined by Doris Gundry of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, and the furniture was advertised in magazines and in cinemas direct to the public.
The success of G-Plan led to E Gomme becoming one of the UK's largest furniture manufacturers, with profits increasing sixfold between 1952 and 1958 when it was floated.

G-Plan still produce furniture, and many of the 'vintage' designs are still sold.

G-Plan Sideboard
G-Plan Dining Table and Chairs
At the time, G-Plan was quite expensive, and by modern standards was very well made.
Today it is avidly collected.
So - Pete was surprised when Jane and John picked out a long, low sideboard, with ebonised legs and brass trimmings.
After all - it was so 'modern', so 'contemporary'.
You see, like most kids, Pete thought of his parents as 'old fogeys' - and far from 'up to date'.
And then they selected a matching dining table and chairs.
Next they chose a 'coffee table'.


G-Plan Coffee Table
A 'coffee table' is a style of long, low table which is designed to be placed in front of a sofa, to support beverages (hence the name), magazines, books (especially large, illustrated coffee table books), decorative objects, and other small items to be used while sitting, such as beverage coasters. Coffee tables are usually found in the living room or sitting room. 

Now Jane and John's parents would have no idea what a coffee table was - it was definitely something that was introduced in the Fifties
In Europe, however, the first tables specifically designed as, and called coffee tables, appear to have been made in, of all places, Britain during the late Victorian era.
With the increasing availability of television sets, however, from the 1950s onwards coffee tables really came into their own, since they are low enough, even with cups and glasses on them, not to obstruct the view of the (black and white) TV.

G-Plan Arm Chair
G-Plan Sofa
The table, of course, was inappropriately named, as Jane and John never drank coffee, except when they were on holiday in Europe.
But again it was uncompromisingly modern, being very low and long, with ebonised legs and brass trimmings to match the G-Plan sideboard.

And next there had to be a sofa (and note it was a 'sofa' - Jane thought settees were 'common') - and there were also matching armchairs.



1950s Abstract Carpet
yes, it's the actual carpet !
G-Plan Bedside Table
This was also G-Plan.
The next thing was carpeting.
For this Jane and John chose a very abstract design in grey.
Next came Jane and John's bedroom.

First a divan, and to accompany this were two G-Plan bedside tables - once again with ebonised legs and brass.



G-Plan Dressing Table
And to complement the bedside tables there was a dressing table, especially for Jane.
As for a wardrobe - well that was not required because the new home had built-in wardrobes in the master bedroom.
The kitchen came next.


Kitchen Table and Chairs
At the old house the kitchen was quite small, and was only used for food preparation and cooking.
The new trend in the late Fifties, however, favored much larger kitchens, which were used for meals - usually breakfast and snacks.
The kitchen in the new house was very large (remember, John had carefully measured all the rooms) so a kitchen table and chairs were required.


Contemporary Coffee Table
Bachelor's Wardrobe
Peter, however, felt a little left out.
He was, though, bought a new bed, a single divan with a white padded headboard, and a bachelor's wardrobe.
In addition he was to 'inherit' the carpet from the drawing room - 'Persian' style - in shades of grey , and actually very expensive when it had been originally bought.
He also inherited the family bookcase, and a contemporary style coffee table - with splayed legs - which Jane and John had previously used when watching television.
Bank of England Five Pound Note - 1957 to 1961


But back to Times Furnishing.
After selecting all the various items it came to paying.
The shop assistant obviously presumed that there would be a 'hire purchase' agreement, and had already started preparing the papers.
At this point the shop assistant was given quite a surprise, as John quietly got out his (very large) wallet (it had been bought in Cairo).
And then he paid for the lot in crisp, five pound notes - and of course the price was in Guineas.
A guinea was originally a minted coin, but after the coin ceased to circulate, the name guinea was used to indicate the amount of 21 shillings (£1.10 in decimalised currency).
The guinea had an aristocratic overtone; professional fees and payment for land, horses, art, bespoke tailoring, furniture and other luxury items were often quoted in guineas until a couple of years after decimalization in 1971
The arrangement was then made to have all the items delivered to the new address on the afternoon of the day of the move.
Of course, after purchasing the furniture, there was much more to do.
It seemed that Jane and John had been planning the move for some time, (without discussing the matter with Pete - but that's the way most parents were at that time), and they were using the move to a new home to 'reinvent' themselves.
Now 'reinventing' oneself is something that is not only acceptable, but relatively common in the early years of  the twenty-first century - but in the fifties of the twentieth century it was odd, to say the least.
Why Jane and John felt the need to do this is difficult to explain.
One reason, probably, was to escape from the 'old selves', that had made a number of mistakes during the war years.
Also, they had, however, as we said before, always been a 'modern', 'contemporary' couple, and it was only the war that caused them to stagnate into a late thirties and early forties lifestyle.
They undoubtedly sensed the underlying change that was developing in society at the close of the fifties as the 'swinging sixties' hoved into view.

Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition - 1956
This had been made obvious by the 'Festival of Britain', the new designs and products shown at the annual Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibitions (that they always attended - taking Pete with them ), and the general tenor of the times.

The Second World War meant that the Exhibition was suspended from 1940-1946, but from 1947 onwards it continued to grow, culminating in a huge attendance in 1957 of almost 1.5 million people. In the early 1950s low unemployment and increasing affluence for many saw a mood swing away from the depression of the war years towards more optimistic and forward-looking times. The Show continued to ‘Educate and Entertain’ throughout the decades and in 1953, the Coronation year, it even featured a two thirds scale copy of the state coach. The 1956 Ideal Home Exhibition presented the ‘House of the Future’, which utilised many of the new materials that had become available since the war.

for more about modern - contemporary design - of the 1950s
click below

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2014


CHILDHOOD'S END

There was more to all this 'new house' and 'new furniture', however.
There was also the new school, although that was some time ago, and, of course, new friends.
Peter was still friends with John, although now they only met at school.
Most of the other friends from Pears Road, however, had gone - moved away like Lawrence, of gone to other schools, like Sylvia and Linda.
And, of course, Sylvia, and her gorgeous mother, had moved to Hounslow West.
When the actual move from Pear's Road came something very strange happened.
Jane, it seemed,  had a plan - a plan to make Peter grow up - very quickly.
She had decided to 'donate' almost all of Peter's toys and books to various other children - or simply throw them away (there were no charity shops at that time).
A 'big clear-out', as she put it.
'Geting rid of junk that wouldn't be needed in the new house'.
First to go were the 'Minibrix' - all scrubbed and cleaned and re-boxed.


Minibrix
Minibrix were construction kits manufactured from 1935 to 1976 in the UK. Developed in 1935, they enabled children to build their own miniature houses.


Like the later and more famous construction toy, Lego, Minibrix consisted primarily of interlocking bricks with moulded studs on the surface, but being invented before the availability of modern plastics they were made of hard rubber which had the necessary ability to deform under pressure to allow firm interlocking of studs and holes. Minibrix were made by the Premo Rubber Company. Premo was a subsidiary of the I.T.S. Rubber Company, which had been founded in 1919 by Arnold Levy, and was located at Sandringham Road, Petersfield, Hampshire, England. The origin of the Minibrix idea is unclear but Arnold may have seen the fibre-interlocking toy bricks of the early 1930s introduced by the Erector Company in America, and the rubber interlocking bricks, called 'Bild-O-Brik' made in Pennsylvania, in 1934, however, the actual design of the British bricks, and the other elements of the Minibrix system are thought to have been the work of a Mr Gilbert, an ITS engineer, and patents for the product were applied for on 5 July 1935 in the names of the Premo Rubber Company and Arnold Levy.

Peter had been given sets of Minibrixs from the age of seven.
Like Meccano, which he also had, Minibrix were sold in numbered sets, the smallest and easiest set being number 1, and progressively getting larger and more complicated.
And, as we have mentioned, Meccano - well that went also.


 Frank Hornby
Meccano
Meccano is a model construction system invented in the UK by Frank Hornby. It consists of re-usable metal strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, axles and gears, with nuts and bolts to connect the pieces. It enables the building of working models and mechanical devices.
The ideas for Meccano were first conceived by Hornby in 1898 and he developed and patented the construction kit as "Mechanics Made Easy" in 1901. The name was later changed to "Meccano" and manufactured by the British company, Meccano Ltd, between 1908 and 1980. 

Queen Anne Revival 
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens

Now Peter was not that attached to Minibrix and Meccano - Meccano least of all.
Minibricks, however, gave him a continuing penchant for brick architecture with white stone detailing - Queen Anne Revival style, reminiscent of the domestic style of Sir Edwin Lutyens.



Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, (29 March 1869 – 1 January 1944), was a British architect who is known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. He designed many English country houses. He has been rightly referred to as "the greatest British architect" and is known best for having an instrumental role in designing and building a section of the metropolis of Delhi, known as New Delhi, which would later on serve as the seat of the Government of India - and in particular the India Gate and the Viceroy's House.


Peter's Dan Dare Radio Station
Peter's Teddy Bear
One of the greatest losses for Pete, however, was his huge collection of toy soldiers, military vehicles and artillery.
Fortunately, not all of his 'Dan Dare' annuals were lost, and some of his toy revolvers, ray guns and rifles were boxed up, later to be put in the loft in the new house, along with the 'Dan Dare Radio Station', some Eagle comics, and a few more items which John thought were too valuable to give away, or throw away.
One very important character, however, from Pete's life did disappear at this point - 'Teddy'.
Pete had had 'Teddy' since he came to Pears Road - perhaps he had even had Ted before Pears Road - no one knows.
But 'Ted' disappeared - and Pete never ever really recovered from the loss.

THE MOVE

Most of the packing had been done by Jane from Monday to Friday, and on Friday evening, John, on coming home from work, dealt with some of the heavier items and the light fittings and mirrors.
The day of the move was a Saturday, allowing for two clear days when John would be free, for the move itself.
Predictably, and almost appropriately, the day was cloudy, grey and miserable.
Pete was consigned to the back of the huge removal van, and so he was able to take a last, lingering look at the old home.
He was sorry to leave, but also looking forward to the beginning of what was, in actuality, the beginning, for him, of a new life.
This new home, to which the van was inexorably taking him, was to be the scene of his adolescence, where the boy would become a youth.
For Pete, however, much would change but, somewhat surprisingly, much would remain unchanged. 
The problem with the new house, of course, was that it was new – brand new.
It smelt new, - and the whole place still had the lingering smell of mortar, fresh bricks, drying plaster and new paint.
All the floors had hard, dark brown, polished tiles, and the skirting boards were concrete – so there was a 'hard', cold, echoing quality about the whole place.
Of course this was mitigated somewhat, when the carpets were laid, but even as the years eventually passed,  the house never had any of the soft cosines of Peter's original home.
Pete, of course, liked his new bedroom, which was large and spacious.
He now had the grey 'Persian' carpet, - Jane and John's best carpet - that had been in the drawing room in the  previous house.
In addition he had a new divan, with a white, padded headboard, a small wardrobe, and Jane had bought him a writing bureau (with a built-in bookcase) for his school-work (which was now to be a priority).
He also had two rather sixties, James Bond style, circular cane easy chairs, and a long, low coffee table, topped with imitation red marble which held a brass table lamp.
The other aspect of the house that Pete particularly liked was the bathroom, which had an exceptionally large, deep bath, and as the water was heated by a large electric immersion heater (and electricity was cheap in the fifties and sixties), there was always plenty of very hot water.
Of course most of Pete's childhood friends, by that time had either moved away, or were now living too far away for Peter to see regularly.
John and Kieth, of course, went to the same school as Pete, and Mandy Downing lived next door as the two families had moved together.
The old 'gang', however, had broken up, and Inwood Park was now a long, long way away, and just a distant memory.
It was indeed 'childhood's end'.
And what about the 'visitors' ?
Well, they always know where their 'friends' are, and there was still an open bedroom window on warm summer nights – and still the occasional visit.
One thing that Jane had not anticipated was the effect of the new Ferguson 17" television.
The old Bush Television had been relegated to the garden shed, and the new television, with its louvered, sliding doors and brass splayed legs had taken its place in the main room, (now called the 'lounge').
The television, during all the time that Jane and John lived in the house, stood in the right hand corner of the room, as one looked toward the fireplace.
And it was on that side (right hand) that John had his chair, as he controlled which channel would be watched (no remote controls at this stage), and when the television would be switched on or off - (always 'off' when visitors came).
Jane, of course, sat on the left hand side of the fireplace, ready to 'pop' out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, answer the 'phone (a muted green phone instead of the old black one), or answer the door.
Peter would sprawl out (after all he was now almost a teenager) on the sofa ('settees', of course, according to Jane were 'non-you'), on the odd occasions that he left his own room.
But back to the TV.
Jane, of course, hadn't realized that all televisions by 1959 were, unlike the old Bush, manufactured so that they could receive more than one channel.
So it may have been 'common', according to Jane, but the Crawford family in Hounslow, as well as the Crawford family in Baker Street, in 1959, both had ITV.
And surprisingly Jane did watch it.
Now probably here initial opposition to ITV had been the possible negative effect it would have on Pete, however, she needn't have worried, as Pete was not a great watcher of either channel.

So – after the move, on the first Monday in the new home, Pete got on his 'Dawes Domino', and for the first time rode to school.
Interestingly, that ride increased his status at school.
The Dawes, at that time, was the 'Rolls Royce' of racing bikes, and very few of the boys at school imagined that Pete owned such a bike – which had been a rather extravagant present from John Stokes the previous Christmas.
Pete rode the bike regularly in the summer, and in good weather, but in bad weather he would take the bus – which was depressing, but at least warm and dry.
Of course, the new home was much further away from the school than the old house, which meant  that, even when travelling by bus, Pete had to get up earlier, and would home later.
Keith Ellwood
And then, in the second year at his new school, the homework started to increase, and Pete spent much of his time, in the local library, and in the seclusion of his new bedroom, working at his writing bureau with his books.
Grundig TK8 Reel to Reel Tape Recorder
One of the teachers who had most influence on Pete at this time was Mr Ellwood, the ex-guards officer music teacher, and it was Mr Ellwood who got Peter really interested in classical music.
Jane and John already had some classical pieces of music recorded on reel-to-reel tape, which they occasionally played on the huge Grundig tap recorder (supposedly 'portable'), which sat on the television.
Most of these were taken from the 'Last Night at the Proms', which had been recorded from the television, and included some Elgar, Parry, and Smetena's 'From Bohemia's Woods and Fields'.


What Pete wanted - really badly - however, was 'The Planets' suite, by Gustav Holst, (which Mr Ellwood had played a number of times during music lessons) and, of course, a record player to play it on.
And so, eager to encourage Peter's interest in 'good music', John dutifully bought a Decca, 'Ace of Clubs' recording of the piece, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent.
Unfortunately, however, Pete had to wait a whole week before John got round to buying the record player – a little Fidelity portable.
The record was excellent – the record player not so good, but adequate, but Pete was thrilled to have his own music, in his own room.
Later John bought Pete Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture', Liszt's 'Hungarian Rhapsodies', Overtures by Rossini and Suppé and Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake'.

Later there were recordings of Ravel's Bolero, Romberg's 'The Student Prince' (which Pete had previously loved to play as 78s on Mrs Downing's radiogram), and John's favourite - Gilbert and Sullivan's 'The Mikado'.
And so the record collection grew, and much of Pete's pocket money was spent on records.
Meanwhile, Jane and John, were intent on 're-inventing' themselves for the rapidly approaching new decade – the 1960s, and busied themselves decorating their new home in the latest 'contemporary' style.

'Contemporary Style', as has been indicated before, derived very much, initially from 'Arts and Crafts', via the German 'Bauhaus', and then was modified by Scandinavian design, and finally by the aesthetic of the 'Festival of Britain'.
Dark teak with ebonised legs and brass mounts, or blond pine typified furnishings, while walls were usually painted in emulsion or papered in pale, neutral shades. The exception was the curious concept of the 'feature wall' – one wall painted a rich dark colour, in contrast to the remainder of the décor. There was also a trend for hall ceilings to be painted in dark colours – in the case of Pete's new home, the hall ceiling was 'geranium red', with pale, moss-green walls - which was Pete's own scheme - and as there was some 'geranium red' paint left over, the bathroom got the same treatment.

MIDDLE AGE

Jane and John were both now well into middle-age, and like many middle-aged individuals were probably very aware of their vanishing youth.
Much of their relative youth, of course, had been 'lost' in the war years, and the immediate aftermath.
Their 'real youth', however, had been in the 1920s and 1930s.
The twenties, as we have seen, were a decade of recovery from the overwhelming horrors of the 'Great War', and the thirties were a slow slide into yet another war.
For Jane and John the second half of the fifties, and the upcoming sixties therefore brought new promise, new beginnings, and the possibility of a better, and more fulfilling life.
The new house, with it's new décor and furnishing, was in many ways symbolic of this new and better life.
Pete's part in all of this was to be a 'model' student, and to make his successful way in this new world.
At school, oddly, Pete was known to many of his friends and teachers as 'Paul'.
And why 'Paul' ?
Well this was because of an 'error' by the Deputy Headmaster, Ted Quinlan.
'Paul', subsequently became a  facet of Pete's personality that was amenable to development as an 'acceptable' member of society, coping well with school-work, making friends, and becoming a prefect, - later a Head of House, and eventually School Captain.
Interestingly, he was never bullied at school.
This is probably because he was essentially a violent boy, despite his studious and compliant nature.
In confrontations it would usually be 'Pete' – the 'little boy' from Pears Road, who was encumbered with the sado-masochistic fantasies engendered by the sexual abuse he had suffered, who would emerge – and who would react viciously.
And observing all this was that aspect of Peter's personality who would eventually emerge as 'Zac' (more of 'Zac' later).
Pete, the adolescent, was still there, however.
He was the creative, artistic aspect, who yearned for some greater fulfilment, but he was unable, at that time, to define what that fulfillment might be, or where or with whom it might be found.
Initially, however, Pete found a certain outlet for his creativity in art.
He was fortunate in that the school had a very competent art master.
Unlike may individuals who aspire to be teachers of 'art' today, Mr Launders was, in reality, a very competent artist.
To put it bluntly, he could draw and paint.
He was, in fact, an excellent draughtsman, and he made every effort to teach the boys the rules of composition, perspective and, most importantly, figure drawing from live models.
Peter responded well to Mr Launder's teaching, and began to develop certain skills in drawing and painting.
In addition to, and including Mr Launders, here was, at the school, a clique of young masters, the eldest being Mr White, the head of the English Department.
There was also Mr Oddy, who also taught English, and to some extent, drama, and Mr Williams, who taught science, and Bill Coxon, who taught technical drawing.
A number of these teachers had been National Servicemen, and had served in the British Army on the Rhine, in what was then West Germany.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
The British Army on the Rhine was formed on 25 August 1945 from 21st Army Group. Its original function was to control the corps districts which were running the military government of the British zone of occupied Germany. After the assumption of government by civilians, it became the command formation for the troops in Germany only, rather than being responsible for administration as well.nAs the potential threat of Soviet invasion across the North German Plain into West Germany increased, BAOR became more responsible for the defence of West Germany than its occupation. It became the primary formation controlling the British contribution to NATO after the formation of the alliance in 1949. Its primary combat formation was British I Corps. From 1952 the commander-in-chief of the BAOR was also the commander of NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) in the event of a general war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The BAOR was formerly armed with tactical nuclear weapons.


Mr William's German Auto Union
Motor Cycle
Hence Mr William's penchant for German motorcycles, and it seemed the whole group had an interest in classical music, with Mr Launders and Mr Oddy particularly captivated by Wagner, and especially the 'Ring' cycle.


Which brings us to another ring – the 'Lord of the Rings'.
Both Mr Oddy and Mr Williams were much taken with Bilbo Baggins, and Hobbits, (and this was in the very early nineteen-sixties – when Tolkien's books were practically unknown).

Mr Oddy and Mr Williams were the youngest of this group, having recently arrived from teacher's training college (but before Pete arrived).
Mr Oddy (who was probably a Catholic) had studied at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, in Twickenham - probably the preeminent Catholic teacher's training college in the country.


Strawberry Hill, Twickenham
St Mary's University is a research university located in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, in South West London. Founded in 1850, it is generally acknowledged to be the oldest Catholic University in the UK. The campus is often referred to as Strawberry Hill, Its alumni are known as "Simmarians" or "Simmies". The campus is often referred to as Strawberry Hill, and the university is known colloquially as "SMUC".
Its alumni are known as "Simmarians" or "Simmies". The university is built on land previously attached to Strawberry Hill House, which was originally a small cottage in two or 3 acres of land by the River Thames. Horace Walpole, a son of the politician Robert Walpole, rented the cottage in 1747 and subsequently bought it.


Strawberry Hill, Twickenham
He set about reconstructing the house and adding to the land, which now amounts to around 35 acres. Walpole did not follow the conventional eighteenth-century fashion of classical building, but sought his inspiration in medieval styles, creating a notable early example of neo-Gothic architecture. Some of his contemporaries imitated his design and so this house and the idea it embodied take their place in the history of architecture as "Strawberry Hill Gothic". The college was founded by Steven Gary Stahlmann (Stahlmann is a name that you will come across again in this biography) in 1850 on the initiative of Cardinal Wiseman. 

 Borough Road Training College
Mr Williams had studied at Borough Road Training College, in Isleworth.
It was at Borough Road that Mr Williams met up with the Attenborough brothers, sons of the prominent English academic.
Mr Williams always insisted that the grounds of the college were 'infested' with hobbits - and hence the obsession with Tolkien's book.


Borough Road College, was established in 1804, in Borough Road. In 1889, the College moved to Isleworth, West London. The college had strong Christian non-conformist origins.


So these individuals had quite a considerable influence on young Pete, and he was most fortunate to have had them as his mentors.
There was also sport.
Now Pete had very little liking for team games.
The school played football, rugby, and  in the summer, cricket – but Pete was not keen on any of these.
Fortunately he had a very perceptive Physical Education Master, Mr Dennis Russell – a teacher whom Peter particularly liked and looked up to, who suggested that Pete, along with some of his associates, John Locke, John from Worton Road, and Robert Austin, should take up weight-training, as the school had a good set of weights.
And so this started an interest which stayed with Pete for the rest of his life.
Weight-training was not only good for Pete in terms of health, but it also increased his self-confidence.


to be continued very soon

click below for the next chapter

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014


The next holiday involves a trip to Holland - not Peter's favorite country - and a visit to the Friedags, in their home city of Münster - where we learn just a little more about this enigmatic family.



This post is under construction - please be patient



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