1960s Christmas

Between the ages of 12 and 15, Christmas for me was usually spent with my family at Auntie Joan and Uncle Jack's boarding house in Morecambe. The guest house was called 'The Kader'. We lived on Kader Avenue in Middlesbrough at the time and I think my Auntie Joan liked the name. The Kader and was on Albert Road, about 200 metres from the promenade and West End pier. I also remember a different Christmas spent at a boarding house in Scarborough. This was when I was younger, before the Hird family migration from Bradford to Morecambe.

  • Christmas c.1966

  • Christmas c.1967

  • Christmas c.1967

  • Christmas c.1967

  • Christmas c.1966

  • Christmas c.1967

  • Christmas c.1967

For me these slides capture the essence of Christmas in the mid to late 1960s. I'm not sure how much I enjoyed it, though I look happy enough in the photographs. As I remember my aunts, uncles and older cousins would spend lunchtime at the pub, sleep it off in the afternoon and then go back to the pub in the evening. Pubs weren't open on Christmas Day so on that night there would usually be some form of party at The Kader. I assume we spent a few nights there, maybe arriving Christmas Eve and leaving after Boxing Day. My mum and dad weren't pub people, but I've no memory of what we did during the daytime - presumably we strolled along the prom getting windswept, cold and wet.

There's a bit more about each slide below:

Slide 1

I'm in the middle of the back row. Obviously I'm saying something important, but they're all ignoring me.

Back Row (L-R): Lily Hird (Grandma), Julie Gavins (Cousin), Audrey Allen (Mum (nee Hird)), Me, Willy Hird (Grandad), Jack Gavins (Uncle).

Middle Row (L-R): Dennis Gavins (Cousin), Roy Hird (Uncle), Margaret Hird (Aunt by marriage/Roy's wife), Vareena Infield (cousin, (nee Gavins)), Partly obscured - Joan Gavins (Aunt (nee Hird))

Front Row (L-R) Kenneth Allen (Brother), Michael Allen (Brother), David Infield (Cousin by marriage/Vareena's husband), Stanley Hird (Uncle), Mystery Man - no idea who this is.

I'm probably nearly 14 in the picture. Margaret, who is sat in front of me was probably about 18 at the time - 4 years older than me. As you may have noticed, my grandad's ears are quite prominent. Depressing though it is, when I walk with the sun behind me the shadow of my head often reminds me of my grandad. Ears just keep on growing.


Slide 2

I'm not sure if this is the actual Christmas Dinner, though obviously no expense has been spared on the decorations. The eldest of the Hird siblings, my Auntie Joan, is stood at the end, next to the serving hatch. With her is the youngest of the siblings Christine, who is about a year older than me. I'm sat just in front of them. I appear to be the only one who is aware that a photo is being taken. My dad took the photo, making sure that Vareena's hair rollers are front and centre of the picture. My Auntie Joan also has her rollers in.


Slide 3

Superficially, this is a more joyous version of Slide 1. My cousin, Dennis's wife Jacky has appeared on the left hand side and my Grandma has disappeared. Maybe Jacky is sat on her. I don't suppose we'll ever know. My cousin, Julie, has moved over to the right hand side and is holding our dog, Butch. Butch was a Pomeranian, named after the dog in Tom and Jerry, I think. My Auntie Joan has also appeared from behind Vareena. I've still no idea who the bloke on the right hand side of the front row is.


Slide 4

Somebody must have had the great idea of having a fancy dress party, and it's good to see that three people on the photo seem to be happy about it. I'm on the front row with the paint brush sporan, between my cousin Julie Dawn Hird and my Uncle Bill. Uncle Bill seems to have come as Grayson Perry. My cousins, Beverley and Lisa Hird are on the right of Julie. Christine is behind me with her husband Dennis. I must have been about 16 at the time and by now we may well have been living around the corner on Westminster Road. My Auntie Annie, Uncle Bill's wife, is at the front on the right hand side. She appears to have died. Fortunately, she hadn't.


Slide 5

There's my mum in the flat cap and red football shirt - England colours for the World Cup Final, as I remember it. Not sure which of the players wore the flat cap. Anyway, full marks for effort mum. Auntie Jean, Uncle Stan's wife, has used an impressive number of beer mats to come as a Tetley's pub in human form. Next to her, in front of my mum, Auntie Annie seems to be awake. The star of this photograph is actually the electic organ, on the right hand side near the table lamp. If you look carefully it's possible to see that it is a Farfisa. Farfisa organs had a distictive sound and was the type favoured by Pink Floyd's Richard Wright at the time. It can be heard extensively on their LP, Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Electric organs were quite popular at the time. We had a Selmer, which was very good. But I was always jealous of my Auntie Joan and Uncle Jack's Farfisa.  

Slide 6

An improved version of Slide 2 I think. Kenneth was obviously put out at his poor showing on the first version, so he's decided to stand on his chair. Quite right. I'm still looking pleased with myself, but at least I'm not the only one smiling on this picture. At the front, Vareena and David are giving their son, Andrew, some attention. More importantly, Uncle Stan, on the right, is clipping his son, Stephen, with the back of his hand. It wasn't the first time and nor would it be the last. As Auntie Joan watches on, Auntie Jean is looking suitable displeased with Stephen.


Slide 7

I love this picture. On the left, Kenneth looks excited. Uncle Stan's nicotine stained fingers wrapped around the glass, with his wife, Auntie Jean in the background looking animated. I have no idea who the couple in the centre are. Maybe it's a couple who were passing by and came in off the street to join in the fun. The bloke is looking forwards with a glass in his hand. 20 Embassy and a lighter are on the arm of the chair, next to her glass of sherry. I'd love to know what was going on at the left hand side, off picture.