Thursday, 11 August 2016
Once the hordes of kids and mums and grandparents and kids had passed by allowing me a few moments to myself I spent time relaxing by looking at an old map. Being of twisted mentality I find comparing the view of the old map to the present very interesting.
The map I was looking at, not the one pictured above, was first drawn in 1887, revised in 1919 and again in 1921. Considerable changes have taken place since then and it is riveting to one such as I to see how things change. For a start many street names make sense, farms that once stood in prominent positions, allowing cows to wander along the roads, have long since been replaced by 1950's housing development. These today offer good homes to many even though some are often raided by the drug seeking police. Good homes do not, in spite of quasi socialist idealism change people, only Jesus can do that and it is far from easy as you know. Most folks are satisfied however, especially those who bought them cheap from grasping Thatcher!
Once busy industry takes up a huge amount of space in this map, now also replaced by housing of one sort or another. Thousands of men and during the two wars thousands of women worked happily for these companies, companies which cared for their workers in a manner far ahead of their time. Had mine owners and major industry treated workers as well in the past two hundred years much strife would have been avoided and the far left may never have existed in the UK. Now all have gone, foreign imports after WW2 brought much of this to an end and only a smattering of such a long industry remains spread far and wide.
Also noticeable are the marked public houses, the vast majority now closed, the many churches most of which remain in place, and public buildings once of great importance now masquerading as Chinese restaurants or other purposes.
In a great many peoples eyes the town has gone downhill, 'it aint what it was,' is the cry from a great many of a certain age, the idea being that life back then was better. However if you suggest dumping their mobile phones, computers, fancy televisions, central heating, big cars and vast amount of clobber that fills the house they all change their minds. Of course looking at photographs of the past many also claim that 'life was better then, much slower and less hassle,' however this is untrue. While slower that meant working longer hours, often slogging hard for those hours, doffing caps to the upper class, having no NHS, no sick pay, no unemployment benefit but a great deal of unemployment, hassle from bosses and smart folks, and a great many problems similar to today's.
Many people pictured in those photographs can be heard saying 'It was better in the old days...'
Right, go find a map!