Childhood things that no longer exist

My parents always had a box in the car boot with a roll of plastic film that could be used as an emergency windscreen.  Guess it was a throw back to the days before laminated glass when a bit of stone could shatter the whole windscreen.

Ah yes. The lost art of driving while bracing your left thumb against the windscreen, to damp vibration from roads surfaced with aggregate. Happy days. 

those inky hand cranked copy machines, overhead projectors, ink wells (I am not actually that old but many of the desks at my school still had them), radio assembly

Paedo gym teachers. Or maybe they do, but at least they’d have to go through CRB checks now before they’re let loose on the kids.

Duplicates in blue ink always remind me of school exam papers.  My mum had an early photocopier where I’m sure it involved feeding different types of paper through a roller just to copy one page.

No carbon paper you used in a typewriter to type a copy at the same time as typing an original.  This had a top tray that scanned the original then you put a special type of paper through a slot.  Basically it was like taking and developing a photo.

They were called duplicators. You cranked a handle and they duplicated a sheet of paper one page at a time. I just about remember these before actual photocopiers came in.

The earliest photocopiers used a thermal printing technique on photo-sensitive paper similar to that which you still get in some till rolls. The copied pages always smelled strongly of the chemical process.

That thermal printing technique was used on echo sounders, which originally printed their readings on paper sheets.  That was before my time though.  The first boat I worked on already had a pretty decent sounder (also called fishfinder or just "the machine") with a colour CRT display.  Today's electronics are much improved, no doubt, but I'd probably still be able to fish effectively with it today.  

During my first incarnation as an academic I used a Roneo spirit duplicator to produce handouts for my students.  About ten years later I realised that I had a four drawer filing cabinet full of blank paper as all the pigment had faded.  Warming a page over a candle brought the handwriting back!  It made a good bonfire.  I’ve probably still got some in storage somewhere … 

Banned by Commission Regulation (EU) No 7/1982 on Canine Faeces Colouration.  White dog poo is now making a comeback sad   

Banda machine is the name you are looking for in respect of the copier.

Don’t stay in the room too long or you’re gonna get real high.

A typwriter - I learnt to touchtype on one. Luckly it was very soon replaced by the IT technology. I also do remember the carbon paper and hated the ink left on my fingertips as I would always smudge the top copy sheet. 

I also remember a secretary working in my office who hated the 'Alien sounds' of computers and printers. Now she would enjoy it as now all is on silent even our washing machines and dishwashers :))))

Councils were required to paint the poo white to assist people with sidestepping it. Another department closed by austerity measures.

What was the process by which so many mild porn magazines made their way into nature? Were they thrown out of car windows on the way home? Kept out of doors to be revisited without the wife knowing of their existence? It's baffling.

Listen with Mother

a fibreglass figure of a child in polio leg irons with a slot at the head for donations, seen outside shops

blotting paper in schools

baby reins

kids on bikes doing paper rounds

jacks (the game)


It was before the rise of the poop-a-scoop

When dogfood contained more bone. 

Now the hedgerows are festooned with poo bags. 

And Razzle can be found on your phone.



  • Being held by the scruff of the neck by the teacher while they gave you the beating of your life.
  • Watching on at the above when it wasn't your turn.

No, Sails, carbon copy was the blue ink duplicate. You could either use a typewriter or a pen or a manual card reading machine to produce it, but it is all a carbon copy.

On that note, manual card reading machines. RIP raised details on cards.



Fax, for that matter 

Those flywheel trolleys that used to take a customer's change up to to the cashier to process and make change before sending it back to the customer, before cash registers. And no I'm not that old but the part of Oz I come from was that behind.

Before rotary dials, you used to have a crank dial that connected you to the local switchboard operator to connect your call. See e.g. Bev from A Country Practice circa 1980s Oz.


Abacuses in schools

Pre- metric maths books

Black tar on cut tree branches

Chopper/Chipper bikes

Cigarette buts and ash trays everywhere

Pint glasses with handles and that odd square pattern in the glass

Pint bottles on everyone's door step

Mayfair, Penthouse and Fiesta.

As a scout in the ‘70’s, doing weekend newspaper collections from houses (which was a thing in those days) we made a fortune selling on intercepted jizz mags at school the following week.

Tins of crayola crayons in school 

Yellow film on shop windows especially clothes shops and wool shops 

house coats or tabards 


hopscotch or skipping games 

large metal dustbins 

rocking horses in clinics and nurseries 

yellow pages and telephone boxes 

oh yeah, milk bottles on the doorstep. And milk in school (before the Snatcher).

And phone books. I remember having a 3-digit phone number.  

What I wouldn't do for door step milk delivery these days. The number of times I have had to walk or ride to the shops after the kids go to bed just so they can have milk on their cereal. 

If the teacher had left it too late, you could get high on purple duplicated test papers. The sweet smell of industrial spirit.

No doubt rotted my brain, explaining quite a lot TBF.

Read a great article about hedgerow porn, was explained as a sort of pay it forward scheme. 

Bangers and Jumpin Jacks on firework night

Conker competitions

During school holidays leaving the house at 9 sharp to see yer mates and returning for tea, with nary a concern for yer whereabouts.


Derelict buildings, building sites, avoiding junkies. Disused railway cuttings and the old viaduct before they blew it up for the bypass. Glue bags. 

Fruit-shaped and scented erasers.

Sweet cigarettes.

Things that cost 1/2 p.

FKS football cards (not self-adhesive).

Er, doorstep milk deliveries still exist. We have them three days a week.

Ditto I still use my Filofax every day which I have had 35 years.


I don’t know if you ever had them in the UK.

But they were Lolly cigarettes, a long round stick of chalky peppermint with red dye on the end,  and they came in a box just like cigarettes with a flip top . 


you’d stick one in your mouth like you were smoking it and spend half an hour  slowly sucking  the end until it was shaped like a long spike. 

Sundays being different.

No shopping or live sport. Football highlights in the early afternoon followed by a 1950s black and white war film starring John Mills or Kenneth More. Skippy the Bush Kangaroo or Black Beauty at tea time then catching the bus into town - no traffic - to sing Evensong. Back for The Brothers or Upstairs Downstairs. 

Or as I got older settling down in my room after the football and spending five hours churning out my weekly European History essay. 



OGR, you sound like you may be my sort of age.

So there was also a time when, as lampooned by The Young Ones, the telly even ended for the night.

Extended past midnight only by the Old Grey Whistle Test or a series of OU lectures.

Oh yes- and the BBC played the national anthem just before the telly shutdown. Imagine that today. 

OGR - you are forgetting the heady winter sunday tea-time treat of watching Rosslyn Park v Old Fartonians on Rugby Special. 

Orwell as others have mentioned there were also duplicators which involved a powder and cranking a handle and produced blue or purple copies of documents and in the 80’s were used by schools to copy test and exam papers where you needed more than a couple of carbon copies.

Even in the early 2000’s the firm I worked at still had carbon paper used to produce a file copy of signed forms for accounts.

As a ten aged the end of TV broadcasting on a Saturday night was a sign it was time to go to bed or head upstairs and put a late night phone in show on the radio.

The Flintstones followed by Dr Who on BBC Saturday afternoons just before the News. Wrestling (Jackie Pallo, Mick McManus) on ITV.

Televisions that had a dialswitch on with 405 lines and 625 lines.


Top 30 countdown on the radio early Sunday evenings. My sister setting up her crappy tape recorder just be the radiogram speaker to record the songs in the top 30. (Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep, for instance.) Dodgy cover version Hits LPs in Woolworths with 'dolly birds' on the cover.

Two way family favourites on the Light Programme weekends. (featuring inter alia Little white bull, Sparky's magic piano, My brother, My old man's a dustman, Flash bang wallop and other such 20th century masterpieces of popular music).

Being sent to the shop at nine years old with a ten-bob note to buy a pack of 20 Guards cigarettes.

Pooling your pocket money and buying one ticket to the Saturday afternoon matinee and letting your mates in through the Emergency Exit. Buying Coke and Fanta in the foyer and hiding the bottles in your jacket to get the threepence deposit back from the corner shop across the road.

Little Chef and Happy Eater.

Batman paraphernalia for kids in Woolworths.

That'll do for now.



spending saturday afternoon watching ceefax for your teams score

irritating your parents by phoning dial a disk

getting a call from BT when you had to get up early for holiday (odd one this, I am not sure why we didnt just use an alarm clock).

I remember step up from the AA's typed directions was when you could get a route planner on CD Rom and you could then print out the directions yourself. It felt like the space age.

“getting type written directions from AA through the post for a holiday destination.”

Certainly don’t remember this, but what a cool idea. Wish you could still do this.

“getting type written directions from AA through the post for a holiday destination.”


Mother's annual trips to rehab were a welcome respite for the family although tinged with some sadness. 

I honesty dont now know how drivers without a passenger navigating ever managed to find new destinations.  I mean I drove myself pre sat navs but simply cant remember.  Guess it involved alot of pulling over and pouring over the map

SummerSails17 Nov 22 15:05

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That’s the one my mum had Boner as I remember the smell.




I misread this at speed and it alarmed me. Sails' mum had a boner and he remembered the smell. Bleurgghhhh

covering your school books 

pick and mix 

cup a soup 

putting the emersion heater on for a bath and coordinating it with the family 

greenshield stamps 

spending hours reading the catalogues like great universal, littlewoods, argos   

Listening to Radio Luxembourg late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. They had the best music.

US armed forces radio was good sometimes too.

Taping the top 40 on a Sunday evening onto your casette recorder, perfecting the finish before the DJ started speaking.

shooing your Dad out of the sitting room when TOTP was on so as to avoid his complaints.

Receiving 2 and a half p to spend on sweets.


Guy you used to study the map beforehand for some time and then scribble some notes to refer to on the journey.  Also people would send you detailed directions to their house rather than just giving you the postcode.

I guess sails, I also remember winding window down and accosting strangers for directions was a regular thing.

Husbands would be cross with their wives for poor map-reading. Wives wanted to find other men to ask for help. Husbands would not stop. They would both fall silent leaving the children traumatised. 

Abacuses in schools

 Like Muttley I misread this at speed and thought "but abuses at schools still go on".  Then I read it properly and thought "were abacuses in schools ever a thing outside non-Chinese schools?".  

Sails do you remember the era before GPS?  I don't although a couple of the old salts I worked for didn't have them (but knew the landmarks very well etc). 

I remember sailing the western isles of Scotland with a Decca and an ex-RAF navigator who was brilliant at dead reckoning at 6mph rather than 600mph.

Going to the bank to get foreign currency

Going to the bank to drop off your savings

and mobile grocery shops


Never seen Decca in use, nor Loran, but I wouldn't have as the places I grew up fishing wouldn't have had the coverage.  Wasn't Decca UK only?  

I do remember not having chart plotters, just GPS waypoints on a blank screen.  Not ideal nowadays, but I still could live with them if on a budget.  


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