A 1950s childhood – freedom to roam

Amongst our collection of oral history recordings at Market Lavington Museum, we have one by John Buckland, who was born in 1948 and lived in The Muddle. (See The Muddle, Market Lavington and How to build a mud wall.)

John recalled how much quieter the roads were then and that it was deemed safe for youngsters to play out around the village. There was only one car owner down this little lane at the time, but John was run over by a reversing post office van, whilst playing on his trike, as the road was too narrow for him to move out of harm’s way.

However, when he was a bit older, he and his friends found lots of places to play in and around the village. Many of these have now been built on or would be deemed unsafe nowadays. White Street is the steep road leading up Lavington Hill to Salisbury Plain. John recalled being able to go anywhere on the plain, which was and is an army training area, so long as the red flag wasn’t flying. He said that the soldiers used a variety of targets for shooting practice and that the boys found these aircraft, tanks, old artillery and water tanks exciting places to play.

Times have changed and wandering around a danger area is not an option for the youngsters of today.

We will look at some of John’s other local childhood haunts on another occasion.

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