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Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on Memories of the 40s : The Street Party


The Street Party included everyone, from Muriel's father (the only car owner, and 'something in Insurance') to the Welsh widow and her many children. These ran around in clothing very familiar to older, neighbouring children. An Army officer had travelled from London to present her husband's medals at a ceremony in the British Legion club -- but these didn't help to support a large family.

Every house had contributed tables and chairs and these were dragged into the centre of the street; which was then blocked off by the empty wagon of Ernie the Vegetable Man. The celebration lasted all day and everyone contributed their party piece.

Strange Alice won a large ovation for girning. Muriel delicately picked her way through a Chopin etude on a piano manhandled into the street by several thirsty fellows. A big surprise was her father, who sang of 'a Bird in a Gilded Cage', and surprisingly well.

Ringlets was lifted onto a table where she tap-danced and lisped her way through the 'Good Ship Lollipop'. Granddad recited his monologue imploring Sam to 'Pick up thy Musket', and Mum sang 'My Old Man said Follow the Van'. (Dad was still away vanquishing the enemy horde).

My contribution, sadly under-appreciated, was a dramatic rendition complete with heroic gestures, of an epic poem narrating a large flag being carried to the summit of a high mountain - 'Ever Onwards, Excelsior!' Possibly not the best slot in the programme.

As the evening wore on the younger children were hustled away to bed but spent the evening leaning out of windows, possibly seeing their parents in a new light; whilst older street inhabitants (now quite mellow) sang about the distance to Tipperary and unfortunate activities of military Sergeant Majors.

There were music makers aplenty. Alf with his accordion; Jim the Pigeon Man with his gramophone and its resplendent curved horn; plus (a real coup for our street over others) several members of the Hen Lane brass band.

A festival to remember ..

Contributed by Smokey