The Rebellious Years……Turning On !

Gordon’s photograph of me late ’60s…….Gordon was a good friend at Art College.


I am having a lot of fun reading this section of my files from the time I was still under the care of the NCH in my late teens, I wish I’d asked for the reports sooner, particularly in view of losing my foster mother, so fifteen years earlier would have been in time to express my gratitude, now I know how much she did outside of the line of duty……But I know she wouldn’t want the praise as she did it all because she was committed to me. Hazel, my foster mum wanted to adopt me too, but my father wouldn’t allow it….WHY? This is also a bone of contention to me…..A bee in my bonnet you could say. I think if Hazel was allowed to adopt me it would have taken the pressure off her in many ways, for a start I was constantly measured,  weighed and assessed by the NCH…..She used to laugh and say “They are making sure I’m not beating you Gilly” But I know it was a big pain for her, and also for me. Things would have been less tense and more natural if she felt she could just relax on the heavy discipline a bit ……But she was looking after someone else’s child and it is a huge responsibility.
On my part l don’t think I would have rebelled so hard if I’d known or understood the situation better……..I was learning and rebelling, of course I rebelled because l was so tightly controlled, poked, tested and thoroughly under supervision, a person of my nature just reaches a point when they rebel, l just couldn’t take the restrictions or the pressure any more. Having said that though, l remained close to my foster mum, Hazel all of her life and my foster mum Jeanne and l are still close to this day…….
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“SINCE LAST SEEING GILLIAN THE FOSTER-PARENTS HAVE HAD THE FIRST REAL TROUBLE SINCE GILLIAN WENT TO LIVE WITH THEM……………………………

Oops, that’s the official version anyway and I’m not sure whether or not I will tell my version of events………Maybe?  I think if they really knew the full extent of it, my head would have rolled!_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 This is another extract from my NCH files, there were countless meetings with my foster parents and with the art college…… Background is l had experienced L.S.D for the first time and my whole outlook changed, well actual I was moving in that direction naturally, but this speeded up the process…. There were repercussions at Art College…..
Date 22/10/69 report by Mrs E Mason, Senior Child Care Officer 
Report on a visit to : The Medway College of Art, Rochester, Kent.

“l visited the college and had a long discussion with Mrs. Crocker who is Gillian’s tutor. Mrs Crocker stated that it is her opinion that Gillian is a very talented intelligent girl. Her design is good and her practical work very acceptable, it is unfortunate that she is unable to make the effort to concentrate at any depth, she has a very haphazard approach to life with little sense of responsibility. She is often noisy and inattentive and because of this members of staff tend to become irritated with her. 
However Mrs. Crocker says it is very noticeable that the same members of staff forgive her much more easily and quickly than they do other students and also go so far as to make excuses for her. She is a very attractive intelligent girl with a lot of charm…..”
Ha ha little did they know! l am having a lot of fun reading this part of NCH files from the my late teens, because l know what was really happening in my life…..Drugs, Sex & Rock & Roll lol ! Well a slight exaggeration, but at this time l was growing up fast, my world was expanding as l was getting involved with music, left wing politics and burnt my bra (hypothetically of course, there was no fire involved lol)……l was a fire cracker though!
l had to make my own way and my own mistakes and l learnt quickly, also l had come out of a situation of make or break, l was very sure that l was a survivor and that l knew what l wanted and more importantly what l needed in life….Freedom to grow and spread my wings……So that’s what l did!
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Hazel wrote a letter to the Senior Child Care Officer that said…….. “You should have heard from Gillian by now that she has changed her mind about leaving ……. l think the grant must have gone to her head a bit……..”  Good old Hazel, always pretty much excepted me for who and what l was. I’m sad that I hurt her in the process but one of my strong character traits is my strong independence and I think this is one of the reasons she picked me in the first place…..A double edge sword.

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I remember well all the fun of those jumble sales back in the day…..Whatever happened to them?
Here is another excerpt from my files from NCH…
Report of a meeting with Mrs E Mason. Senior Child Officer. London…..
   Gillian came to the office and we had lunch in the canteen.  She is now completely self-supporting and is managing on her major award from the Kent Education Department…….. She is clothing herself and at the moment is in a very trendy fashion, buying at jumble sales etc.,…………After our official discussion I offered to take her to where-ever she would like to go as a birthday treat. She chose to go to the King’s Road, Chelsea where we visited numerous clothes shops, coffee bars, antique shops etc., Gillian thought this was wonderful.
 I can remember this well, l had some money for my birthday and l bought a long sleeve T-shirt with a star on the front down the Kings Road, purple with a white star if my memory serves…….I’ve always loved London and always loved shopping.    

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Quote from the report above “Gillian is a very immature girl and at the moment is going through a peculiar phase in her life. She wishes to be very modern and up to date in her outlook and yet seems afraid to make decisions. Nevertheless she is a very likeable girl and these foster-parents are extremely fond of her but they are at the moment unsure how much freedom they should allow her. She has a front door key and is allowed to have friends in her flat. these are always male and she has these in great numbers. They have suggested that a few girls might be a welcome change but with no effect; I pointed out the point of safety in numbers and reassured them by suggesting that this phase will pass and that she will eventually acquire more sense”      ……………lol ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Gordon was studying photography on the floor above where I was studying fashion. The photographers often used us dress girls to experiment with, in the non biblical way l mean ha ha, but we were friends outside of the establishment.

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Our commune symbol  We had dreams of an Art commune, but in fact nobody would rent to us ‘stoned heads’ but we landed up taking over a large house, room by room, the landlord was pretty tolerant, there was all manner of shenanigans and mischief going on here ha ha! We had such laughs! Hysterical times! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Millbrook, Borstal Road – Rochester Commune. From Attic down – Kev and me followed by Kev , me and baby Corrina, she was almost born in the attic room………………… Raymond Weatherill (Kev) “That takes me back…Our little rooms at the top of the house.Such a long time ago and I’d spend just one day  there back in time in an instant.If my memory serves me well it was all good in that  place.I remember going to the phone box for an ambulance the night Corrina was born and having to drag Chris Turnbull away from a woman in his room to look after you while I was gone. And the clinic throwing me out on the street in the early hours, they didn’t like men around in those places back then. Turned out lovely didn’t she. xxx………..”

and Chris next door in the broom cupboard!

Various people inhabited the next floor down, not all at the same time, but during the year or two we were living there –  Lee, Gordon, Tim, Don, Bunny and more……..

Kev ‘Bunny’ Warren in the window of the living room of Rochester Commune….. Late 1970 or early 1971.

Not all the the gallery photos that follow are visible, but if you click on any one they will appear as a slide show………………………..

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Here’s a recent conversation from a Facebook conversation posted in Rochester Commune and friends http://www.facebook.com/groups …….

Chris….”If I was the leader, how come I had to sleep in the broom closet? There’s something wrong about that!”

Lee.……“Luxury!” Gosh I didn’t know you were the leader??? If I’d known I would have been nicer to you.x

Chris……”Yeah, that broom closet was like a psychedelic tardis. I had a king sized bed in there made out of clouds and had a light show made from rainbows. Every night I would have ecstatic love-ins in there with all the Medway town’s hippie chicks. The Grateful Dead played there several times too. It was far out, man!!!”

Gill (me)….. Yea, l was always knocking on that broom cupboard door to tell you to keep the noise down!”

Chris…..”Yeah, but at least it wasn’t me who set the kitchen on fire, Gill!!!”

Gill (me)…..”Do you remember that? sure it wasn’t Kev!!!???”

Chris….. “Nah, I don’t remember it coz I’d gone to live with my Mother in London by then according to that newspaper report. Funny thing is my Mother never lived in London…. Maybe I was living with The Mother’s Of Invention. I don’t know, it was all so long ago. Anyway Tim told me it was you.”

Gill (me)…..”Do you remember when I set the attic on fire also? l knocked over the little paraffin fire and because we were right up in the attic the only thing to hand was the piss pot, it stunk for ages ha ha!”

Chris…..”Luckily for me, I can’t remember anything about the 60’s! Who are you anyway?”

Gill (me)……‎”?????…. It’s a shame you can’t remember cause we sure had a laugh!!!!”

Chris……”Somewhere on here earlier I thought I saw a bit asking who the landlord was?…. I can’t find it now! Wasn’t it Mr Milton?” I can’t believe he put up with us for so long. Did we ever pay him rent?”

Gill (me)…….“?????….. He was a saint or on drugs!!”

Chris…….“Sounds like everyone I knew in those days. Even the Drug Squad were on drugs!”

Gill (me)……“They were just c*****!”

Chris……“Now, now, Gill. They were just doing their job. They were lovely blokes really….. Called me Tonto!”

Lee…….“I think the Detective in charge of ‘that incident’ was named Griffen (gryphon) am I right?? There were rumours that some of the constabulary were users yes……That night of ‘the incident’ at the police station is imprinted on my memory. The sniffer dogs, getting squashed into a Black Maria, then the fingerprinting, then about 3am, just Gill and I sitting on a bench (not sure if there was another girl) in the reception area and about 15 of you guys in the tiniest of rooms all making jungle noises. Hilarious!!”

Gill (me)…..“So funny, l remember it clearly because l wasn’t on any drugs because l was pregnant, Barry on the other hand was off somewhere for about 3 days!!! ha ha !”

Chris and Lee, another masterpiece from Gordon, the photogragher

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Commune Baby…………………….

And Ray (my ex Kev) says I remember going to the phone box for an ambulance the night Corrina was born and having to drag Chris Turnbull away from a woman in his room to look after you while I was gone. And the clinic throwing me out on the street in the early hours, they didn’t like men around in those places back then. Turned out lovely didn’t she. xxx”    

This photo was taken by a photo/journalist who ran some rubbish article that was saying a load of old bull…..But the pictures are great, this was mine and Kev’s (Ray)  attic room where we lived in 1971. This was at Millbrook Rochester Commune.


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One Response to The Rebellious Years……Turning On !

  1. Pingback: A Little Early History…… « gillyroots

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