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1st October 2020 – 1st April 2021

The Virtual Memory Lane Café

A place to enjoy each others memories

Museums are full of memories, and back in November 2019, The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum, launched its first Memory Lane Café – a social group for older people and those living with dementia. We went down Memory Lane with object handling, music, visitors and of course, a cuppa and biscuits! We have had a break over the Summer, but are now back with our virtual Memory Lane Café.

Join us now on a trip down memory lane and enjoy each other’s memories prompted by artefacts.


We asked our memory lane participants: How does the object make you feel? What particular memories does the object bring to mind?

Gardening tools

Memories of Gardening


My first memory of gardening as a little girl was with my Dad, who after a long, hard working week would be desperate to get out into the garden first thing on a Saturday morning. As his little helper, I would be given very important jobs such as watering and weeding. I loved my child-size gardening gloves and being allowed a little corner of the border to plant my own seeds, cherish my seedlings and be pleased with my final efforts … especially those glorious sunflowers! 


“I don’t know how I got into growing fruit and veg as I had zero interest in the garden when I was growing up. But nevertheless I found myself taking on a really large plot in an allotment when I was in my early 20s. I think it may have been my alternative idea to joining a gym! I much preferred the idea of lifting a spade to a dumbbell. But what I enjoyed most about the allotment was the peace and quiet, the space to think or not think about anything at all. It always felt good to escape to the allotment. It was my bit of heaven hidden in the deep, South London sprawl. As for the weeds, well that’s another story.”



“The old gardening tools in the photo takes me back to our small back-yard when we lived downstairs in a Semi in NW London (circa 1946). Mum might be waiting for our Coal-man and we’d have wedged the door to our back-yard open. When he arrived with his Horse & Cart, he’d come puffing down our alleyway with a large sack over his shoulders. We had no cellar but into the blackened corner of house and garden-fence he’d make his way. Then leaning further over he’d spill the contents of that first bag. The sliding noise was so distinctive, and clouds of coal-dust ensured Mum would have taken in our washing off the line before he arrived. My job was to count the bags as he emptied them. Mum might have been diddled out of a bag at a previous time. I remember feeling embarrassed as I counted loudly the bags he carried in. It wasn’t that we didn’t trust him so I kept grinning at him, but only received back the white of a glaring eye on his coal-blackened features. His name was Mr White. I didn’t want to be a Coal-man when I grew up!”



“I am not normally a gardener. However the first thing my husband and I did in lockdown
was to cut out two corners of decking to create two sunken beds. We grew sweet peas and tomatoes in one and runner beans in the other. The beans have been prolific and we are still picking and enjoying .The sweet peas gave us great pleasure with their colours and fragrance. We have also been able to share these with family, friends and neighbours. I think we can now say we are gardeners!”

Jan & Pauline

“My Dad (and Pauline’s husband) Cyril absolutely loved his garden and all the wildlife that visited. He had a favourite robin who visited regularly who would sit on his hand and feed. He was growing his own vegetables up until the day he passed away, suddenly. Just before he died he gave me a small spade that had belonged to his own mother, so that is very special. Mum has now moved in with us so we have had to empty their house and garden shed. We found an old watering can that Dad had written “Tomorite” on so we are now using it to feed our tomatoes that we started growing during lockdown.”


“Sadly, neither of our parents had green fingers, so we do not have any early gardening memories!! My parents lived in the same house all their married life and did become interested in gardening later in life. Some thirty years ago, when my mother died, we dug up a bush from their garden and planted it in our garden here in Cheltenham. It is still thriving and every time I cut the grass and see it, it reminds me of the home where I grew up.”


“My gardening memories go back to the war years. From the last three years of the war we lived with my Grandma, who encouraged me to do some gardening. I preferred to grow flowers and was given a packet of Amaranthus seeds (Love Lies Bleeding). I planted them in the front garden and they made a lovely display, my love for gardening started then. Other jobs I had were to take the caterpillars off the cabbages and to water the tomatoes. My Grandma’s garden was about 100ft long, so we grew lots of veg and soft fruits, my job to pick them. All this fruit and veg helped us with wartime diets, many happy memories! “

Come back next month for a new mix of memories!

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