Our Century

Taking shares in the communal pig

Judy Davies,
Born 1942

Judy Davies

"About two years before I was born, my parents' house in Birmingham was bombed and they moved into rented accommodation in Stourbridge.

"They hated it because we had to share two outside toilets with three other houses and distemper used to flake off the ceilings. There were mouse-traps around and the mice were emptied into the open range.

"The families used to save their scraps to feed to a communal pig kept in a sty at the end of the terrace. When it was killed everyone received a share to supplement the meat ration.

"In 1947, during one of the coldest winters of the century, we moved into a newly-completed house in Walsall.

"It was still drying out and my mother had to get up early to fetch in the anthracite for the boiler in the kitchen to heat the hot water, and coal for the fire. There were still Italian prisoners-of-war digging the gardens when we first moved in, before the wire and palisade fences went up. I remember my mother feeling very sorry for them.

"I started school at Blue Coat Infants in a condemned building in Bath Road. I remember going out to the outdoor toilets, looking up to see the grave diggers preparing another grave in the cemetery further up the hillside. Paper was still desperately scarce after the war, we used slates for our sums.

"From there I went to Blue Coat Juniors and Secondary School. At the weekend we would go to the pictures or to a dance. We would catch our various buses back home without feeling scared or having to be met by our parents."