My feed

to access all these features

This forum is the home of Mumsnet classic threads.

Mumsnet classics

What Do You Remember About Your Grandparents House?

139 replies

RabbitsRock · 26/06/2023 10:31

This popped up on Facebook & I thought it was rather lovely - I have wonderful memories of my maternal grandparents house & my paternal.
When DBro & I were little, we were lucky enough to live close to both sets of Grandparents. I remember the garden at my paternal Grandparents house the most. Beautiful flowers including a bed of stunning cornflowers. And at the end of the garden, over the low wall, was the most beautiful meadow. It really was like something out of an American movie, complete with a white picket fence & horses. I also remember sitting on the stairs & being so thrilled that I could hear my brother talking to me from a little cupboard in the outside passage. Oh & I remember the bureau where Grandpa kept his big bar of Dairy Milk. I also found some Pan books of horror stories & gave myself nightmares!
My maternal Grandparents first house was lovely, with high ceilings & big windows. I remember the old fashioned radiogram in the dining room where we spent most of our time. We would have those mini Kellogg’s cereals whilst listening to radio 4. I remember the comforting sound the pantry door made & I could see Sally’s lead & bags of biscuits inside. Sally was a very cute fox terrier. I remember all the bedrooms, especially the cosy one at the back of the house with the airing cupboard. The biggest bedroom at the front had a magical cupboard full of dressing up clothes & hats. My Grandma used to be in old tyme music hall so I could try on all her costumes. I get my love of music from her. I remember practising my scales on her piano & my Aunty got fed up & asked me to play something else! I also remember a beautiful music box inlaid with pearls, from Israel I think. That was one of the things I wish I could have had after my Grandparents died.

OP posts:
Zarataralara · 26/06/2023 12:00

The smell of geraniums. There was some sort of display stand in the hallway, covered in them.

ladycardamom · 26/06/2023 12:02

Everything. I often dream I am walking room to room in both sets of grandparents' houses. I can see, touch, and feel everything as it was decades ago.

AceofPentacles · 26/06/2023 12:03

Lived in a cottage with no central heating
Beautiful garden growing fruit and veg
Bread oven in the outhouse

Doing lots of chores and learning how to iron cook and sew from a very early age (6-7).
Freedom - went out every day to the park next door and didn't come back until tea time. Would be making camps and catching sticklebacks - a real famous five life

Caradonna · 26/06/2023 12:09

DGF would make our favourite tea for DB and me.
Egg and chips and blancmange and tinned pears.
He had a pale green bakelite cruet set -unfortunately the holes were v big and I drowned my chips in pepper. But the smell of white pepper always reminds me of that.

SoWhatEh · 26/06/2023 12:10

I only had one grandparent and we lived far from her so rarely saw her. But I remember she had this mysterious room called a 'conservatory' Grin which was full of plants and wicker chairs with big floral cushions and it smelled of kerosene as she had an oil heater and oil lamps in there. I loved that smell.

I also remember it was a bungalow with crazy paving driveway which we used to play on. Some game where you put a hoop around your ankle with a ball and string attached and skip over the ball.

UnDruidlyWords · 26/06/2023 12:10

My paternal grandparents had the most wonderful house in the world. It wasn't big, just a Victorian three bedroom semi but it seemed perfect to me. There was a long hallway with red, cream and dark blue tiles, where there was an old grandfather clock, the downstairs rooms had coal fires and the kitchen had a back door to a lovely garden. The house had a cellar which acted as a fridge and they didn't get their first fridge till the mid-70s. Outside there were two brick outhouses, one of which had a well in it. I remember Granny doing some washing in there and using the mangle on the lawn. The garden was full of roses and peonies and there were two apple trees. In the front garden they grew pansies and it was there that I fell in love with them, thinking the flowers looked like faces. I still love pansies. And it was in Granny's kitchen that she taught me the magic of custard powder. I remember the smell of vanilla and how the powder changed colour when milk was added. There were sounds and smells - Grandad scraping the grate out on winter mornings before us children got up and the smell of bread being toasted under a grill that had previously cooked bacon, so the toast had bacony lines on it. Going back to the grandfather clock, Grandad used to wind it up in the evening, usually smoking a pipe or cigar as he did so, and after he died and the clock came to my dad, the smell lingered for a few years.

My maternal grandparents lived up north and we didn't see them as often, but it was a great place to visit, being surrounded by fields. This house also had coal fires downstairs and it took me many years to properly notice that the kitchen had no sink and Grandma used a scullery in the next room. She cooked on an Aga and worried constantly about it going out, often shovelling in more coke. She was also a great fan of cacti and had a collection in the porch. It was to that door the travelling grocery van used to pull up and Grandma would go out to buy bread, milk and whatnot.

Neither house had fitted carpets and instead had large rugs. I recall that the floor boards were painted black. Both houses were fairly sparse in terms of ornaments, but there a few bits about like Toby jugs over the fire place and paintings on the walls. The televisions, one in each house, were tiny things with the screens having rounded corners.

Gettingbysomehow · 26/06/2023 12:17

My grandparents arable farm was the only time I was happy the whole of my childhood.
My home life with my mother and stepfather was chaotic and violent.
I remember loving holidays so I could go and stay with my grandparents, there was a huge lake there so we'd all go boating, my cousins were all there and we'd run wild all day. It was a slice of heaven, winters always snowed and Xmas was amazing.
I had to help on the farm but it was fun and we loved it. I loved pulling into the station in the nearby town and seeing them standing and waiting for me smiling. It was the best feeling ever.
They were great cooks and made fantastic food, grew all their own vegetables. I was taught all kinds of country skills and crafts.
They were my world.
I hated going back to the city. My grandparents didn't know what was going on at home. I miss them so much.

Phos · 26/06/2023 12:26

Everything. I spent so much time there. I remember petunias in the borders, privet hedges and the dry stone wall in the back garden.

I remember the carpets that had been down since the 70s, the pendulum clock in the hall and all the “Knick knacks” in the wall units.

I remember the kitchen smelling of pressure cooked vegetables but also the smell of baking scones. The rest of the house just smelt clean, like soap.

I remember sunlight streaming into the bedrooms and the flowery bedspreads.

I remember things like A Country Practice and quizzes like Crosswits on the TV. Unless snooker or bowls were on!

I remember my little toy box made of a box their tv had come in.

I remember being safe and happy. I was loved there.

TheYearOfSmallThings · 26/06/2023 12:29

The Raeburn, vinyl floor tiles, the big leather rocking chair, sponge in the jelly, a fancy quilted tissue box cover, Magneto the robot, a sewing box in a footstool, a fibre optic peacock, electric Sacred Heart of Jesus, gooseberry bushes (red and white), windfall apples in the old tin bath in the garage, the coal bunker where the coal at the bottom had turned to anthracite, babycham in the hall press, shield soap, blue bathroom, blue halls, blue bedrooms, NAT King Cole on the TV singing Pennies from Heaven, Last of the Summer Wine and Bullseye, me getting the ring in the barmbrack, Hydrangeas, next doors yellow stained glass lean-to.

Gold curtains, storage heaters, sewing machine, smell of tobacco, fancy sundae dishes for eating stewed apples, enamel table in the breakfast room, a carpet sweeper, hundreds of old school medals, the farmers' crossword, victoria plums, a poster of Treetops in Kenya in the understairs cupboard, a Yamahopper in the garage, the crib, packet soup with lentils, neapolitan ice cream in a brick, four plastic rings from a comic, cod liver oil capsules and zubes, harmonica and Jews harp, a musical balsa windmill that played The Tulips of Amsterdam and lit up inside its rice paper windows until all the grandchildren punctured them.

LadyOfTheCanyon · 26/06/2023 12:30

We used to live next door to my maternal grandmother so I was always in and out of it. I remember it a lot more than my own house in all honesty. It had a nicer garden than our one and I used to spend hours out there playing in all weathers.

My paternal grandparents lived in a flat in Marylebone. We used to go up on a Saturday to visit and it was always cream cakes from the bakers, sitting in front of the two bar electric fire watching Grandstand with my grandad. Always a trip down Church Street market and if we were lucky, an ice cream from the proper ice cream parlour on Edgware Road.

Damnbrsatz · 26/06/2023 12:32

My maternal grandparents lived in a tiny cottage that was 1 up, 2 down. It had an outside toilet and a bath built into the kitchen behind big cupboard doors. I thought this was amazing. Their garden, which was full of veg and fruit they grew, led down to a little stream which we spent hours playing in. To one side was a train track where one train an hour went past. They bought the cottage in a little village not far from us when they retired, having rented their entire lives in a very industrialised city. My Grandma, who was 12 years younger than my Grandpa trained as a chiropodist to pay for the tiny mortgage having always worked in shops/pubs. When she retired and he was less mobile, she would walk up a huge hill every day at 12 to the pub he preferred and collect him 2 pints of beer in a plastic carton (like a milk carton) and bring it back for him to have with his lunch.

evtheria · 26/06/2023 12:34

Sitting on the tiny wooden balcony with my other cousins, all squashed together with our knees up under our chins, eating sweets and watching people pass by on the road below.

Lying on the cool cement floor in the kitchen, playing with the orange kitten.

My grandfather pulling the bottle of roselle cordial out of the big wooden kitchen cupboard and making me a glass up.

There usually being a huge plastic pitcher of sweet, hot black coffee on the kitchen table, and a tin pot of rice on the little gas hob.

The guava tree down one side of the house, which my cousin and I would climb to pick the hard guavas.

Timeforchangeithink · 26/06/2023 12:35

A hug in a home - nothing less.

superplumb · 26/06/2023 12:37

My nice nan and grandad in Scotland used to have a sweetie drawer and they'd let me have whatever I wanted. Their small but perfect garden was great to play in. My not so nice grandparents smell of coffee and a ticking clock sound. No TV allowed during the day children not to speak unless spoken too, never allowed nice food unless we had a plate and the 20 year old lego would we wheeled out for us to play with

SaltyGod · 26/06/2023 12:38

Such nice memories, thank you for this thread idea.

Pink bathroom suite with no shower, no fitted carpets, grandma always in the kitchen with an apron on. Grandpa pottering in the garden with lovely flowers, always with a tweed suit on. A formal room saved for best with lots of ornaments and thick curtains, no heating and no fridge (a cold cellar instead). Fires on in the winter from the moment you woke up. Neighbours popping round and calling everyone Mr or Mrs. Grandma with a hairnet at bedtime. Enormous cuddles of unconditional love and affection.

A happy place to remember

Crabwoman · 26/06/2023 12:40

GP#1 big 1960s detached. Semi rural village. Sunny lawns and big windows. Was always boiling inside, so it smelt of synthetic carpets and sofas. Chocolate pie from the bakers and lemonade in glass bottles. Study with old weighing machines and guillotine.

GP# 1920's semi in a town about 20 mins from a city and on the next road from us. One room for best, giant silver teapot, which was constantly in use. Original kitchen, ginger nuts, larder. Avocado bathroom suite and imperial leather soap with a magnet in. Incongruous swarovski light fittings and ornaments. A wardrobe full of furs that were rarely used. Geraniums.

Tangomango1 · 26/06/2023 12:40

I can remember my Grandparents house so well! The coal fire that we used to put orange peel into when it was laid, to make the room smell all orangey when it was lit. The kitchen with its fly trap curtain. My grandmother baking all the time & making pies & soups. They also used to eat tripe & onions which me & my sister hated Envy

Upstairs they had a massive bedroom with dark wood furniture & a closet type thing that my sister & I would hide in & make up stories.

I remember the back bedroom that my sister & I shared & waking up to snow on Christmas morning. And how cold it was as there was no central heating, just the fire in the living room!

I can also remember that when someone died in the road that they lived in, everyone kept their curtains closed until the day after the funeral.

Tom & Jerry & Laurel & Hardy on the TV & my Grandad laughing until he cried.

Tinned salmon & cucumber sandwiches with tinned fruit & carnation cream, on a Sunday after a roast dinner.

Happy memories Smile

babybunny123 · 26/06/2023 12:45

The aroma of home baking, bread rising in tins covered by damp tea towels on the hearth!!! being allowed into the pantry to choose a home made cake. They had a drinks cabinet and my sisters and I would sneak in and pinch the cocktail cherry's. I adored my maternal grandparents just wish i could have one day back with them.

StaySpicy · 26/06/2023 12:48

My maternal grandparents - the stool my Gran had in the kitchen (she died when I was very young and that's all I remember of her). It was one of those where the little steps fold up underneath the stool part.

After she died, in a different house, my grandfather had a long stone fireplace and there was one of those "rock concert" ornaments (like the photo) on the mantle. And we would play this old game called Whatchamacallit. Oh! And in his study he had a calendar that was digits and words you could flick over and I liked sitting in his chair and playing with it.

What Do You Remember About Your Grandparents House?
BreviloquentBastard · 26/06/2023 12:51

Butter on the counter not in the fridge, the smell of gun dogs, gnawing on fresh honeycomb and getting absolutely disgustingly sticky from it, bonfires, grandad's pipe smoke, very rich milk nothing like the semi skimmed from home, a sofa that was so old you sank right into it, general horsey smell permeating everything, bisto gravy, staying up later than we should, rain being deafening on the outbuilding roof, the ducklings that visited the garden, hiding under the willow tree, eating all Great Nan's peas fresh from the pods on the plant, summer days that felt endless... So much nostalgia.

Mischance · 26/06/2023 12:52

Paternal GPs - a London Edwardian terraced house (now worth a fortune!). I remember the Anderson air raid shelter in the tiny back yard; the stairs that went on endlessly up floor after floor to the attic; the "food safe" in the kitchen with its pierced metal grill and marble slab; the box of wooden bricks for us to play with; the cellar - terrifying but irresistible; the knife grinder - children keep off!; the endless balls of wool; grandma slicing loaves of bread clutched under her arm and endangering her vast boobs; the terrifying gas geyser over the bath that whooshed into life with a shot of flame; the view from the attic bedroom (where we slept when we visited) with its Mary Poppins view over the rooftops.

Maternal grandmother - lived by the sea in a small fishing village in Devon. I remember food - masses of it. She was vanishingly small but cooked up a storm. The gas oven in their kitchen where granddad committed suicide - I would not walk through the kitchen. The lovely gardens awash with sweet peas and yummy vegetables; the walk down to the tiny station from where the train took us to Exmouth for the day; the swing seat in the garden with its plump cushions; the beautiful china dinner service and the fish forks; Grandma's elegant clothes - she started out as a seamstress and milliner.

So many memories.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 26/06/2023 12:55

I liked staying at both, but do remember being very scared of sleeping at paternal GPs house after both my GF and GGF had recently died there. They were both lovely old men, but the thought of either of them ‘appearing’ utterly freaked me out.
Plus there was a particularly evil looking Toby Jug on a table in the hall,,which seemed to be looking directly at me whenever I was coming downstairs.😱

In the front garden was an apple tree, said to have grown from one of the apple cores chucked from his bedroom window by my DF when a schoolboy doing his homework!

Maternal GPs’ was a bungalow, relatively rural, with a massive garden, where adders’ nests had been found in the past. Lots of fruit trees, inc. plums, always with loads of wasps buzzing around them in summer.

There was a waste paper basket made of an elephant’s foot 😱 - AFAIK not uncommon at the time - in the rarely used ‘front parlour’.
There was a separate garage containing GF’s car, which I don’t ever remember once actually being driven.

There were glasshouses built on both the front and the back, largely for the black grape vines, which my GF had grown many years previously from cuttings from a bunch of grapes given to a sick relative. Any grapes would have been a great luxury then - this would probably have been in the early 1920s.
As a child I remember them as mature vines, absolutely laden with juicy grapes .The house was in a very sunny area of Herts.

sadie42 · 26/06/2023 13:00

It stank of fag smoke and fried food. This was the 70s. I loved them!

lastminutewednesday · 26/06/2023 13:02

There was a street lamp outside and after it was dark the light from it would filter in through the fanlight above the front door and suffuse the hallway with a sort of orange glow.
They had a clock that chimed the Big Ben peal on the quarter hour and the bongs on the hour. When I hear that I always think of them.
Granpa always used to make delicious beef stew with specifically Henderson's (Sheffield version of Lea and Perrins). I've tried often but never bettered it

Theoldwoman · 26/06/2023 13:10

My paternal grandmother was my favourite! My step grandfather had Parkinson’s for as long as I can remember so he never spoke to us.

They lived on an acre.
Tons of fruit trees, a thriving vege garden, pretty succulents.
A big round dining table.
Wooden blocks in a huge wooden box.
Porridge with raisins when we slept over.
A big ginger cat called Puss.
A black lab called Sheba.
Black jellybeans in a jar.
Charcoal to draw with.
Lux flakes next to the washing machine.
Sunlight dishwashing liquid.
White towels on a heated towel rail in the bathroom.
A dome clock.
White candlewick bedspreads.
Mint dulip.
Apple juice in a carafe.
Blue willow dinner set.
French doors.

My maternal grandmother.

Lived alone since my Grandfather passed away well before I was born.
Immaculate little 2 bedroom house with an outside room , which I never saw inside of.
A box of cards neatly under the tv.
A teeny tiny bottle of perfume on top of the fridge.
Grey floral carpet.
Pull down blinds.
Dark scary bedroom where I slept on sleepovers.
Blue bath mat in the bottom of the bath.
Sewing machine in the back porch.
Double concrete tubs in the laundry.
Pretty teacups.
Stew with dumplings.
Bright flowers lined the path to the front door.
Lots of green grass.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.