Wrexham residents recall simpler times in the years gone by

Reporter:

Mike Bracknell

STANSTY House Care Home is a treasure house for memories, and the home really highlights the differences between the current generation and ones gone by.

Margerie Roberts, 95, from Bradley, is one of the 77 residents that currently live in the care home.

She highlighted the differences between the extravagant celebrations that are seen nationwide now and the simple family “get together” that happened back then.

She reminisces: “I remember my father would collect a holly tree from the local wood and bring it inside for us all.

“Stockings were very popular and often all we would get would be some nuts and a couple of pieces of fruit.”

She also spoke of how life in general has changed saying:

“There was no electricity; everything was powered using gas lighting.

“The fireplace was also very big back then. We would all gather round it on
Christmas day. Not very often do you get families that do this now.

“Then we would have our big meal together, which was usually pork or sometimes duck.”

She remembers the time she visited Santa’s grotto in Liverpool:

“We went on the train of course as there was no other way of getting around as cars were rare.

“It was a novelty for us back then to get the train.”

It’s like she is describing another world, everything seems so different compared to our consumption-obsessed lives and the Christmas she describes seems almost unimaginable in today’s day and age.

Margerie added: “There was no television. My mother’s father would sometimes play the organ and that’s pretty much all the entertainment we got, either that or the church choir would come round and sing songs for us.”

Margerie then described how when she was a young girl, Christmas would be more about being together with the family.

“Neighbours would always be round and we would have food together and a puppet show for the children,” she explained.

“Everything was a lot simpler back then.”

The next resident I met was Francis Jackson from Rossett.

She also had many memories of the past and told me how: “Christmas is so different from years ago. Our Christmas used to be based around carols and everyone would send cards to each other, visiting their friends and family’s houses.”

“Back when I lived in Liverpool I always remember that the mayor would visit the city and then Father Christmas would come round on Christmas day for the children.”

She also describes how presents have changed.

Instead of receiving one of the many popular presents that are expected now: “Children would get a lot less, mostly nuts and anything else that would fit in a stocking”

She also said: “Chocolate money was a big thing, as opposed to the real money which is what kids now want”

“We had less, but we were content because we didn’t expect anything more.”

Francis was evacuated during the Second World War from her birthplace in Liverpool to Rossett, and spent the remainder of the war there.

She recalls her memories of evacuation fondly: “I didn’t want to go back, I loved the country life. When I did eventually return everything had changed and it really opened my eyes, especially as a 14-year-old, to the destruction and war that had taken place.

Francis eventually returned to Rossett after a few years as she said she “preferred” it there, and it upon returning she met her husband Eric.

She said: “We settled down and had three daughters and a son and when we had Christmas it was a much simpler affair.

“We did the best for them but money wasn’t spent as freely as it is today.”

She speaks of the “simpler times” and recalls how, like Margerie, the trains were the main transportation.

“We would never have dreamed of travelling by car, it was mostly trains, the occasional bus or the tram network.”

“Our time over Christmas was very simple, I think the less you have, the more you enjoy.”

- Any donations to Stansty House are welcome. They are also holding a variety of events over the Christmas period including choir nights, Christmas parties and a communion. For more information contact them on 01978 290373.

See full story in the Leader

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