England in Victoria´s Time.

My mother was born 1857 on July 9th. Her birth was never registered, but she received her pension at 60 years as she was on the Census papers when she was 3 years old.

No water was on tap in the house she lived at 3 Parliament Square Bethnal Green. A cobbled street each house had two water butts. One for drinking and one for house hold use and a pump was in the middle of the square and water was available one hour each day to fill the water butts.

No paper in those days, when one bought butter etc., mother said it was sometimes rancid it was put on a clean cabbage leaf. As mother got a bit older, she would go to the Pub for her dad, ask for half of Porter, a clean clay pipe, and please tell me the right time, which cost a l/2d.

There was no lino (linoleum) on the floor in those days. Scrubbing the floorboards every day and then sprinkling them over with silver sand was the normal routine. London in those days was very country like. Green fields with cows grazing right into the City.

When I was 5 years old, I remember the lamp lighter coming to ignite the streetlights every evening right up until I was 14 years old. I loved to hear the Muffin man with his board on his head covered with a white cloth, he would ring a bell and shout. Winkles and shrimps were sold in a similar way every Sunday afternoon in time for tea. Also the flower girls who sang "won't you buy my pretty flowers?" My mother knew all the rhymes they used to sing.

I remember when I was about 3 years going shopping with Rebecca Robinson Known as Cissie in Forest Gate and seeing a herd of cows, they were being driven along the street; I was pushed into a shop because I had a red coat on! When I was 10 years old, Cissie married my brother Edward and I was their only bridesmaid.

There were no cars then and life was quiet, but I used to lie in bed on Saturday nights, and about 10 p.m. Men would be making their homeward journeys singing and sounding very happy. Those were happy days for me. There were no planes until world war one. I remember the night a bomb dropped on a German Zeppelin over the river Thames at Erith Kent about mid night. The flames lit up the sky.

I was 16 when the war started 1914. I married George Walker May l8~ 1918. Robert was born March 15th 1921 and Joan was born January 7th 1923. A lorry carrying Paper from the Bowater Mills in Dartford Kent on June 19th 1936 killed George my husband. I then lived with mother and looked after her until she died.

This article was written by Sarah Elizabeth Porter .

Sarah Elizabeth Porter b.1898 d.1997