Author Topic: Birmingham Mail Boots  (Read 9054 times)

Phil

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Birmingham Mail Boots
« on: December 28, 2008, 09:09:07 PM »
Birmingham Mail Charity Boots, remember them. Here's a photo that will raise a smile for one or two of us. Looking at it I didn't remember quite how studded and heavy they were. As glad as we were of them however did we manage to walk in them.

Phil
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roy one

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 11:02:03 AM »
i had the mail boots and gray socks to go with them a lot of us kids did
each day is a blessing and I bless each day when it comes

Phil

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 02:28:54 PM »
Roy,

Where did you collect yours. I collected mine from the Public Works Depot in Allison St at the back of Digbeth Police Station and the Public Works Depot in Crawford St Saltley.

At the time, although glad of them we were also sometimes ashamed to be seen and heard in them. You certainly would be heard coming a long time before you were seen sometimes especially on a foggy night.

Mind you its a good job all our mates wore them as well, that way we weren't so ashamed.

It just shows how times have changed, that there is no need for these sort of charities anymore, and I'm glad to be able to say that.

Phil
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roy one

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 02:43:34 PM »
i got mine from digbeth and then we went over to the market i was not on my own getting the boots a few of the kids out of  st martins was there  i got mine in November just after  the 5th Phil it was the way of the world in them times

 there was two kinds of folk in our world ones that did not have much and then there was the poor we did not think our self's poor
each day is a blessing and I bless each day when it comes

tramp

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 03:58:25 PM »
Phil and Roy,

I had the boots a few times too, and like Phil I can't remember that many hobnails in them, mainly the big round steel tip on the heel - I remember saving up for more segs/h-nails because they sometimes came out as you climbed about on places like the bombings'.  Army boots (pre DMS) were a piece of cake after them.  Now, recruits are allowed to use trainers for up to 6 weeks as their poor little tootsies are too delicate......what bloody army have we really got? They complain it's underequipped - it always has been  - nobody wants to go to Helmand and says so...we never thought to question where we NEEDED to go nor did those who stayed longer than me - Borneo, Radfan, Oman Cyprus, or later Ulster and Falklands - and nobody had a ''flak jacket'' although a couple of BDTs were offered them- I don't begrudge life-saving equipment, if it works, the more the merrier who live the longer- it's attitudes that seem to sometimes be suspect.  Given the right kit, the right oppos, mindset and orders, today's squaddie in whatever unit must logically be as good, maybe better than we were.  He just needs to tell a few to shut it and remember that UK only started getting into these s88t tips when the country started to be led by people who'd never seen a bullet, let alone heard one.   To such people, life is cheaper than it is to a soldier - it's never been theirs' - they're all blare no flair, sucking up to bush and balls.  Well, that's my bit for the day,it's interesting where a child's charity boots can lead you, isn't it?

sueb

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 07:18:01 PM »
I know you're going to think I'm thick and I'm embarrassed for asking but there are a number of questions I'd like to ask you all, if you don't mind.  Did you have to be means tested to get the boots or did you just go and get them?  Also, if you didn't have them what would you have worn?  And did girls get them as well?  Did children really go barefoot when you were young?  I know they did about a 100 years ago.  It must have been so awful in the cold.  My husband went barefoot when he was a child in Barbados, but I'm sure that wasn't so horrible as here.  He did have shoes for church on Sunday though!

denise

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 07:53:05 PM »
I can not answer all off your questions until I speak to my mother,however Girls did wear them.I can remember my mum telling me she had them when she was a child :)

roy one

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2008, 08:15:04 PM »
hi sueb  yes girls had them too in them days it was not called the dhss it was called n.a.b national assistants board now because i had not got a father and mom was on her own  she did not get help it was a case of get a job or go with out but in them days woman got a lot less then a man if a man got£5 a woman would get £3  now it was the school that got you your boots and if you had free dinners the school would give you a ticket to get your boots and socks the it was the Birmingham mail that paid for the boots and the school would apply for x tickets from the mail most schools did this now this would be in the late 40s and mid 50s but that was about all you got i think the n.a.b had been going just a short time not sure  hope that helps sueb Roy
each day is a blessing and I bless each day when it comes

Phil

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 09:27:50 PM »
sueb

Concerning Birmingham Mail boots, first of all you have to realise that I never actually applied for the boots myself that would have been down to my mother. Nevertheless I will try to answer your questions.

The boots were purchased and donated by The Birmingham Mail Christmas Tree Fund which was inaugurated in 1930 from charitable donations from the people of Birmingham. Thus by these means Birmingham was the first major city to eradicate shoeless children from its streets.

Roy has correctly told you that they could be obtained by your parents getting a docket from your school. The other way was through the National Assistance Board. Which was the successor of the Poor Laws Board and the forerunner of the Social Security? This was set up to provide those people with no visible means of support with an income and was indeed means tested.

At first both boys and girls were given no choice and it was hobnail boots and grey socks. Getting into the 50ís and girls were able to choose a plain black shoe and white socks and even later boys were given the choice of boots or shoes

So another first for Birmingham, the first City to see that all of its children had shoes to wear, but once again it was down to the people of Birmingham and not any official body.

Phil
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tramp

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2008, 10:37:33 PM »
Yup sueb,

Roy & Phil have put it in a nutshell in all aspects from brum's initiative to the Free Dinner as the effective qualification for boots.

Ever since I got my first ones, I've been happily putting my foot in it.

roy one

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Re: Birmingham Mail Boots
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2008, 11:08:44 PM »
 the n.a.b was the forrunner of the d.h.s.s i think that come about in 1946 or 47 Phil will know the date did we run around with no shoes may be not but if you had shoes they had holes in them in the summer it was OK you had pumps(plimsolls) and some times you would get hand me down thing next door lad would grow out of something and you got it
 sueb none of us had much it was the way things was done but no one looket down on you being clean was the thing but when you got something new you was a happy chap no matter what it was but then Chang come about the back to backs got pulled down you got a house with a bathroom inside loo no stone floors kids had things it all seem to come about in 10 to 15 years but we lost something on the way you did not know any body any more like the shop down the road that you could get things on tic brum lost its heart but the days are still with us in one way kids still get shoes free school dinners the d.h.ss pay you more no one is down and out unless they wont it that way
each day is a blessing and I bless each day when it comes