Christmas in Rainham in the 1950s

Sadly Christmas in Rainham appears to be much quieter these days with only the dull street decorations and in contrast the colourful lights in the houses to remind us of this special time.

Christmas in the 1950s, for those involved in the Church, was always a time of organised carol singing round the village behind the Vicar's elderly Austin 7, towing a trailer upon which was tied an old piano. Choir boys and girls in their surpluses followed the trailer with the Sunday School Staff making up the rear including Miss List and Mr Dennis accompanying the piano on his squeezebox accordion. Some would carry improvised lanterns. It was I recall a very festive sight.

Another annual event at this time of year was the Sunday School Christmas parties at the Church Hall in Orchard Street. The Vicar, the late Rev Jordan, nearly always played the part of Father Christmas. One year I remember he wasn't able to do it. Miss List who always organised such events with military precision asked me to be Father Christmas. Dressed in the time honoured way, Miss List said make a lot of noise as you enter the stage by the back door, then she continued 'I can tell the little ones that Father Christmas is coming'. After being duly announced by Miss List I began to hand out the presents. The remarks of those little children, who must be in their 60s now, as to who Father Christmas really was still make me smile. 'It's the Vicar' 'No it's not, it's Mr Cumberworth from Ivy Street' 61 think it's Mr Dennis from Station Road' said one little girl, 'No it's not said another 'He's too tall.' One little girl, I recall said it all 'it really is Father Christmas.'
Happy memories of old Rainham

John K Austin School Master (retired).



#4 S Harrison 2019-07-16 11:47
Message for M Lamb who left the comment regarding the basics of Christmas spirit. You mentioned that your mother and her family came from Rainham, the Harrison family. I am tracing my family line and a large part of my Harrison line comes from Rainham, any information you are able to provide would be most appreciated.
#3 ANNIE Partridge 2015-12-17 17:38
Going back even eariler my late Grand father Alfred Partridge retired from the army in 1925 and returned to Rainham, where he worked until his retirement late 1940's as a postman. With a delivery twice daily all year and one on Christmas morning then back home fpor a well earned lunch featuring rabbit. His younger daughter Chris while at college worked as a casual on the post, in the run up to Christmas. Happy Christmas to all in Rainham.
P.S. my cards in the post.
#2 Linda Grant. 2013-12-23 16:44
Brings back good memories,most of the shopping and decorations in the week running up to Christmas Eve ,Dennis the butchers with the birds hanging up not many turkeys then more geese,pheasents,rabbits and chickens a visit to the grocer on christmas eve and getting an orange we were so happy with not a lot by todays standards.Was in Miss Lists class the carol service was great .Thanks for jarring the memory.HAPPY CHRISTMAS.
#1 m.lamb 2013-12-23 16:35
This is something that gripes me still, people have forgotten the basics of Christmas Spirit, stores have forgotten that taking there time to decorate there shop window displays plays a big part in getting people into town centre and creates partly the magic of Christmas.
Even Town centres cannot be bothered to erect a Christmas tree.
I live in Gillingham my street do there bit, but my Mother and her family came from Rainham, the Harrison family.
But from those of us still upholding Christmas traditions, I wish you all A Christmas and happy New Year.
Perhaps it is time to take our Christmas Back a few years.

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