Days of innocence

Whatever happened to those old-fashioned games kids once played?

Saturday, 25th August 2012, 11:39 am

Long before they had computer games and hundreds of TV channels, youngsters had to use their imaginations and make their own fun – often in the great outdoors.

Whether it was riding bikes, making a den, climbing trees, kicking a ball around or skipping with a rope, children in the ‘50s and ‘60s rarely complained that they were bored during the school holidays.

When mums and dads told them to go out and play, a group of friends would often make up ‘war’ games with toy guns, swords and sticks.

Cops & Robbers and Cowboys & Indians were particularly popular, although in these politically correct times should that be Cowboys & Native Americans?

Yesteryear’s trip down memory lane this week takes us to Luton’s Farley Hill in April 1952 – not long after the estate was built.

A Luton News photographer took this wonderful picture of six boys playing on the corner of Homestead Way.

It would appear that the ‘Indians’ had won the battle on this occasion after capturing three ‘cowboys’ and tying them to the nearest lamppost to make sure they didn’t escape.

The Farley Hill council estate, complete with its own shopping precinct (Market Square) and long avenue (Whipperley Way) stretching through it, was built shortly after the Second World War.

The estate’s design was considered advanced at the time. Many of the residents were Irish families who had come to Luton because of the opportunites for work.

But it was several years before Farley Hill had its own schools. Farley Juniors did not open until 1956 and St Margaret of Scotland Roman Catholic School until 1960.

If you were brought up on the estate around this time, we would love to hear your memories.

We would also like readers to write in about the games – indoor and outdoor – that they enjoyed playing as children.