We have perceptions of where we fit in the world be it place or time. I think of myself as being a fairly modern creature having spent my childhood in the 60’s when technology was on the rampage and consumerism was burgeoning after the post war austerity years. All it took was one old black and white photograph and a host of nearly forgotten memories of a 4 year old Denny boy to burst that particular bubble.
With coincidences seemingly now well established as integral to my normal daily routine, today yet another shuffled in and sat down in front of me waving its interconnected strands. A few days after the photo appeared on a Facebook page a “one-liner”, by my fellow blogging lowlander Old Mortality, made an inadvertent connection.
“This has nothing to do with bringing electric light to the poor benighted folk of Denny. (there will be time enough for that later after they get inside toilets.)”
I lived in an upstairs flat of that building in the photo. None of the properties had inside toilets. Such amenities were provided for by a brick built row of WCs across the yard to the rear. It was quite an operation going to the toilet: down the outside stairs and across the yard to the dark doors beyond. I can still close my eyes and smell the distinctive whiff of burning paraffin from the little heater my folks put into the loo on the cold winter nights.
It was a lonely place. It wasn’t just the fact there were no other kids in these two blocks…there was nobody else at all by the time we moved out. I was about 6 years old by that time. Odd though…I don’t remember ever thinking it creepy.
The downstairs looks inhabited in the 1954 photo of the local Gala Day. It wasn’t when I was there circa 1958. I remember the room on the left (facing), where someone is standing in the door, being a washhouse with a big sink and mangle for squeezing the clothes through.
About 1960 it was the subject of a compulsory purchase order, I assume to allow a road improvement on what was the main Glasgow to Stirling Road.