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Alan

Middens and midden-moochers

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Those of a certain age will remember middens, the fore-runners of dust-bins. Basically they were an amenity of the old rows of terraced houses that comprised so much of 1950s St Helens. They were usually next door to the lavatory at the bottom of the yard and were a brick-built extension to the lavvie with an opening of maybe 2ft square about 3ft above the ground in the house yard and a much larger opening for emptying it facing the back-entry. Both openings were ideally equipped with wooden doors but in many cases these had broken away.

The idea was that the house-holder chucked rubbish in through the smaller opening and then the bin-men would shovel it out into the  bin-lorry through the larger opening on a regular basis. They were well populated by rats and scavenging dogs and stunk to high heaven in summer. Then there were the mysterious midden-moochers who went through them under cover of darkness looking for anything salvageable or with a scrap-value such as old iron, or discarded clothes.

Wonder what today's politicians would have made of those midden-moochers?

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I well remember the 'middens' along the entry between Lingholme Road and Harris Street, Alan - but, when I was born (1951) they were no longer in use.  Most people had put bolts and padlocks on the inside of the door into the entry, to stop anybody trying to get into the back-yards/gardens.

I also remember being told about 'midden-moochers' - probably be looked on as Recyclers these days ;).

Our Hen-house was against the inside of the wall, where our midden had been.  It later became the 'coal-house' after the last of the hens had finished laying and been consigned 'to the pot' ;).

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