Playing on the Lump always safe and never too far from home.

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When I was playing outdoors as a young lad in the 1970s, I considered myself lucky to have a ‘lump’ to play on.

I’ve lived in the largest village ‘said by many’ in England most of my life.

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Which were decimated by slum clearance and modernisation in the 60s and 70s.

Sutherland RoadSutherland Road
Sutherland Road

My patch in Pitsmoor, more specifically was Ellesmere, I considered it a lovely place to grow up.

I was recently surprised to read a friend who lived near me back then, talk about ” the lump”

I always thought this, a phrase peculiar to me, clearly not.

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A lump, I would say, consists of between 3 or 4 roads forming a triangle or quadrangle.

Junction of Writtle street and Maxwell streetJunction of Writtle street and Maxwell street
Junction of Writtle street and Maxwell street

The lump would be continuous pavement with no junctions or entrance for cars, it should have a circumference of around 400 yards give or take.

My Lump consisted of 4 roads, Petre Street, Maxwell Street, Writtle Street and Sutherland Road.

It was great from the point of view of playing out, for my brothers, sisters and friends, we had great times on the lump.

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3 out of the 4 roads were quiet enough to play without too much worry of passing traffic.

I had many games of football on Maxwell Street, the only part flat enough to play.

We could play kirby but never did,why? Several reasons One. We never really had the kirbs as most kirbs were quite low on those roads, so would make the game difficult to play.

Two. We rarely had a ball to play with, if you had a football back then you were king, like a minor celebrity.

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You would have lots of “friends” call to your home for you to play, because you had a football,and if you couldn’t play out “could your ball,” while you had a ball you had no shortage of callers.

And Three. We’d never heard of kirby so it never came up.

That was the argument we would present to my mom and dad.

“I’m only on the front ,if you want me just call”

When we played on the lump one of the things we did regularly, was time trials.

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We would try and get round as quickly as we could , be it running, bike or go-cart, timed by counting we would set times then try and beat them.

We would run anti-clockwise then try it clockwise, all the time not really leaving the house so not having to go in.

I'd like to think children of today adhere to similar safe places with memories to go with them.

I enjoyed playing on the lump. It felt safe and my parents would never say “where have you been till this time” as we were always on the front, or close by.

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