During the last century the world of childhood has changed beyond all recognition.
Towards the end of the Victorian era, a large number of individuals had become so obscenely rich from the industrialisation of Europe that they almost became embarrased by their own success and wealth.
But at the other end of the scale was grinding poverty. The weekly wage, when clothes, shoes and rent had been deducted left very little for healthy nutricious food. Children were prone to rickets, scurvy and rotten teeth because their diet was so poor.
Simplistic though it maybe, morality was still considered a virtue and the ‘do-as-you-would-be-done-by’ attitude still lurked deep in the psyche of the average Briton.
And the last of the great reforming benefactors arose, the Cadburys and the Gladstones, to provide hope for the poor. A deep and endless social change began that had begun with the writings of Charles Dickens, and Sinclair Lewis in Canada ensued until the emancipation of women and the ‘new idea’ that women and children could actually be considered as more than just ‘chattels and baggage’ became more than just an ideal.
These pages are from around the mid-fifties, when such grinding poverty was all but fading from memory.
Oddly enough, the rigours of wartime rationing had produced a generation of children far more robust and rudely healthy than had previously been known!