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To be wondering when The Village will lighten up a bit?

(114 Posts)
Squarepebbles Sun 07-Apr-13 21:55:10


ShowOfHands Tue 09-Apr-13 17:10:37

Rosebelle, my g g grandma was actually only in the workhouse once (with 3 of her children). Other children in varying groups dependent on whether they were employed/ill/away at the time were in there for different periods of time on four separate occasions. Their release was secured by their uncle (my g g grandma's bil) who was a tailor and of good social standing. All of this was a mystery to me (I could only find odd census listings where the family seemed to be split up or scattered on two separate occasions) until I traced the grandchildren and g grandchildren of my g g grandma's brother who had all of the details about the workhouse. The workhouse was over the county border and filled in a LOT of gaps, as did meeting several relatives I knew nothing about who had family postcards, letters, workhouse documents (copies) and many, many tales which all fitted in with everything I'd found out so far.

TigOldBitties Tue 09-Apr-13 17:25:12

I like it. It's much better than the ridiculous and quite unrealistic Call The Midwife (saying that as someone who was born in poplar, my parents were too as well as numerous aunts, uncles cousins etc around the time it's set).

Jellykitten1 Tue 09-Apr-13 17:53:42

ShowOfHands what an incredible piece of family history, to have found out what happened in such detail is fascinating. Thank goodness for the uncle securing their release. Real fortunes of life stuff.

TigOldBitties also fascinating that you and family were from Poplar. From what you say it appears your family don't agree too much with the portrayal of the area/times? is there anything that particularly stands out as being either very likely or very unlikely as it has been shown on screen? It's always interesting to hear of real-life experiences of times gone by.

whendoigetaliein Tue 09-Apr-13 18:18:13

I enjoyed 2nd episode more than first week. I hate that school teacher - he needs to be buried with the dead dog wink - or maybe he needs to drink a bucket of beer and water wot has been used to clean floorboards - he might lighten up a little hmm

I now have a theory - somebody earlier up said that they think Middleton (John Simm) is related to the people up at the "big house". I was thinking about his confession to the methodist woman about the incident with his sister in law many years earlier - (Sister in law was pregnant and died in a ditch or a hedge or river).

I now wonder whether the sister in law didnt die immediately and whether baby survived and Caro was the baby (Caro must be similar age to Joe - the son who went off to war - and who Caro had intimate relations with in a field) (do you like that terminology grin).

Caro is now pregnant - so that could mean she is pregnant with her half-brothers child - do you think I am right? Probably not but it has kept me occupied for the last 5 minutes grin

TigOldBitties Tue 09-Apr-13 18:34:33

JellyKitten, the primary thing that all my relatives comment on (I remember when a group of us watched it which may have been the Christmas special) is how it doesn't look like Poplar. Half of the, wouldn't believe it to be set in Poplar, because even when I grew up in the seventies there were constant reminders of the blitz. In the fifties there would have been loads of bombed out ruins all over the place. I don't know if you know the area but poplar is right on the Thames, the Germans used the river as a guid so Poplar was one of the worst hit areas. Plus the place was bloody filty. Most people not 'the unlucky few' as shown by the programme lived in horrible little set ups. Typically you would hear the rats under the floorboards constantly and lots of horrendous infestations. Also as I said, its on the docks so there was a massive amount of muck that came from that.

Secondly at that time, nearly all women in the area were sent to the East End Maternity Hospital up Stepney. My mum was born there in 1950, and my brother was one of the last babies to be born there. Across my entire family, which is very large, all babies for that time period were born there and thinking of all the friends and neighbours in the area, it was only quick/very sudden labours or the rare case who weren't. My great aunt was living in Dagenham for the entire 1950s and even she was sent to the East End Maternity along with all her neighbours. As its a memoir I think they may have over simplified the area because the only way we could see that the midwives would have so many patients would be for them to go further afield than poplar.

I think the aspect that most annoyed my family is how cheery it is. As if it was some sort of golden age. That area at that time, it was grim, not as grim as pre-war but pretty bad. It was rough and poor and dirty and most people were looking to escape. I think I'd have to talk to my mum and gran to find out what they objected to most as its a while since we watched it but I imagine its very much the alright guv'na, Rosie Lee, Chipper cockney attitude combined with the rose tinted view of the place.

zamantha Tue 09-Apr-13 20:05:00

Just watched 1st episode on iplayer ad loved it - Village that is.

Think the brown hues give a feel of the past.

Think the young infatuations are interesting - like the storytelling from old man - used to be Bert the boy. He said had to be "honest" SO STRIFE IS WHAT HE THINKS IS TRUE TO LIFE - whoops caplocks went on but puts across my point smile

VenusStarr Wed 10-Apr-13 07:51:09

Interesting theory whendoigetaliein I shall have to continue watching to see if you're right! smile


Interesting theory, but didnt the ministers daughter introduce George Allingham to Mrs Middleton? I dont think the two families are linked.

I think that whatever is "wrong" with Caro is linked to the facial disfigurement of the Master of the house. A traumatic fire? Perhaps they blame John for that too.

Also, no one would have helped the Middletons because the whole village blames him for the sisters suicide. They have been somewhat cast out.

zamantha Wed 10-Apr-13 09:06:12

Facial disfigurement and how all staff have to keep their back to this gentleman is interesting. I thought he had lost his face in an earlier war - seemed very forlorn when great war was mentioned- zoomed in on a stony face.

I wonder if Caro is just idle and eccentric- sort of allowed in upper classes.

Jellykitten1 Wed 10-Apr-13 18:13:56

TigOldBitties thanks for the info. I read the Call the Midwife trilogy and they read far more like your relatives' memories of the area. Jennifer Worth describes in detail the poverty, how people lived in bombed-out ruins that had been condemned, the big prostution problem in the area and the general decay and grind (unlike the TV series which makes the people look all clean and respectable there were a lot of desperate un-pretty characters in her books, some of the stories make for some terrible reading. So I would say the books reflect quite accurately your relatives' memories in lots of respects (as opposed to the TV series).

JW books do however give the impression that nearly all births in Poplar were home births handled by the MWs and nuns, and hospital births were rare unless there was an identified problem ahead of birth, whereas quite obviously from what you say, a lot of ordinary births were at hospital not home.

Thanks again for the personal insight.

ppeatfruit Thu 11-Apr-13 13:31:12

Possibly the 1st babies were born in hospital I was in 1951 (not in Poplar though!) but younger Dsis and DB were born at home.

NuhichNuhaymuh Fri 12-Apr-13 23:32:17

good theory whatdidiget, but John said that the sister died and the baby too

Darkesteyes Fri 12-Apr-13 23:35:51

Saw in my Twitter feed earlier today that John Simm is going to be on Jonathan Ross tomorrow night.

FunnyLittleFrog Sat 13-Apr-13 12:27:45

Very much looking forward to the next episode.

Really wasn't sure at first. It is grim in a very Thomas Hardy / DH Lawrence sense.

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