Living at Brinsford in the time of Glam Rock

I arrived at Brinsford Lodge Hostel in September 1970. I had imagined the lodge as an ivy covered old house. My mother sniffed and felt inside the bed to see if it had been aired, and my father declared he'd seen better Borstals. There was no chance of the room being damp - the block I was in was close to the boiler house. This meant that the room temperature was near tropical. In midwinter it was possible to wear a sleeveless tee-shirt in front of a wide open windows and still feel overheated. Or perhaps that was the effect of moving from an all girls school to a ratio of 3 males to 1 female. And I'd been shortsighted enough to get engaged the day before I left home.

In January 1970 the age of majority had changed from 21 to 18. Consequently there was some hesitancy about what rules could be imposed on us and what couldn't. Blocks were nominally single sex and the opposite sex were supposed to leave at 11pm. However, as one member of staff explained, this rule was only used if people were making a noise. I can remember only one occasion when the it was enforced, and we were told - 'if the gentleman hadn't been screaming ...'

Things I especially remember

  • The awful toast - humid and chewy
  • The odd quasi-deserted plot just down the road. Never any activity, a series of old army huts, but the boundary fence was always maintained and secure, and if we paid too much interest in it a man on a motorbike would turn up and chat to us about our intentions.
  • CoffeeMate - a godsend, once himself at the corner shop at Featherstone had got his head round it. But first, several rounds of 'Have you any CoffeeMate?' 'Yes - do you want Camp, Maxwell House or Nescafe?' 'Don't bother - have you any powdered milk?'

 

It seems strange that, sometime in the next two years, I will be taking an offspring to university. Dave's advice is 'don't do it - don't arrive with parents' .I suspect mine, weighed down with PCs, CD players and all the other paraphernalia that fills a teenage bedroom are going to struggle to get their bare necessities into a rucksack and arrive by public transport. In fact, they're going to struggle to get them into the family saloon. And anyway, I'm not going to be done out of my turn to get sniffy about the beds.

I met my husband, Nick, at Brinsford. We went back this year to find it had been turned into a prison (Featherstone Prison was up and running while I was at Brinsford , see here - ed) And the Molyneaux, the scene of our first date, had been swivelled on it's axis. Sic transit gloria mundi. Still the Marble was as we remembered it and the statue of Prince Albert on his horse was there, now minus the horse manure we'd adorned it with after our finals.

Meanwhile, if Sue Fowler, Barbara Kempinska, Steve George, Kevin Triggs, Dave Wilson, Geoff Cardus, Gillian Innes or anyone else in Brinsford from September 1970 to December 1971 reads this and remembers Nick or myself, please get in touch at by e-mail . And Glyn Williams and Kanti Mistri - I know you were not at Brinsford (YMCA wasn't it?) but where the heck are you now?

In fact if you were at Wolves when we were, give us an email. There is a small group of us already in touch and we have a 30th Anniversary get together to organise …

Jill Tardivel

nee Gillian Scattergood, HND Applied Biology, married to Nick Tardivel CNAA BSc Biology

Brinsford September 1970 to December1971

Article written 2002-ed

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