Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Web Page 898
First Picture: A 1950’s living room.
Second Picture: Typical 1960’s advertising promotion, good old shillings and pence!
How we as youngsters spent our Christmas Days
Imagine a world without Computers, Mobile Phones, I-Pod’s and Game Consoles, a world where less than a quarter of the population of this country have a TV Set, about the same applies to Cars, or a Telephone and you're somewhere near the mark of what life was like when we were young in the 1950's .Our mothers were still buying some food which was still on the ration and at school the cane or slipper still held sway. It sounds centuries ago doesn't it? But we all lived through it and this is the way that we grew up.
For families, Christmas time was much the same as it is now, a time for the family, except your visitors arrived by train or bus rather than a car. (Oh yes both those services still ran on Christmas day in the 1950’s). Religious or Victorian Scene Christmas Cards were sent, never funny or rude ones as for many it was the only form of communication with each other for the whole year and often a hand written note would be attached to catch Aunty or Uncle up on all the family news of the last twelve months.
Our living rooms had the aroma of coal fires or maybe the rich smell of an odd log being burnt. Christmas decorations consisted of home made paper chains, natural foliage such as holly, fir and mistletoe and the odd commercial paper decoration
probably bought from Woolworths. Naturally there was a real Christmas tree but I am too young to be able to claim that I remember it being decorated with real candles. But I do remember the presents being piled underneath the tree and the curiosity generated by an unusual shaped parcel. The electric lights for the tree were very simple, normally just a string of twelve glass bells with coloured bulbs inside. And of course the fairy on the top was home made and dressed with white crepe paper by mother. In fact the fairy angel we use in our own home today comes from that era, I know this because Pam can remember it being sat on their own family tree over 60 years ago and it was made by her mother.
On Christmas Eve itself when it was time to venture up to bed I would lie there for quite a while excitedly listening for Sleigh Bells but of course, I always fell asleep before they and Santa arrived!
Christmas morning would come and here starts more of the differences. If we were very lucky, we may get six or seven presents just one each from immediate family. I'd usually get a Rupert Annual, an addition to my Meccano Set etc. and I can recall the one of the biggest present of all during the 50's was a pair of roller skates with steel wheels. It seemed that for weeks after Christmas, when I went to bed I neatly stacked my new things next to the bed, after all there may well be a burglary in the night and they might get stolen, this way I could keep these new things close to me!
Even the Milkman and the Postman called on Christmas morning and sometimes it would be amazing how these two visitors ever saw the end of their Rounds as it was quite normal for them to be offered a tipple at every house.
Although there was TV, it was only in the late 1950's that 'Christmas Specials' started to appear and these being mainly imports from the USA such as the Perry Como Show, Andy Williams etc. From the UK came Tony Hancock and very early Six Five Specials. Much to the enjoyment of my family you would get a Laurel and Hardy slot, maybe Buster Keaton and a Cartoon. But the TV was a minor part of Christmas. Parents were usually busying themselves with domestic duties whilst the Kids immersed themselves in their new toys and books. I wonder how many families now get through a Christmas Day without TV, text messages or some time on the PC!
Another factor was that Christmas Day did actually seem a special day there were no shops open and all the theatres and cinemas were closed. In those days Christmas didn't start in late September as it does now, it started just a few days before the event; the only thing to start early was the baking of the Christmas Cake and making the mince pies usually sometime in November.
Traditional Christmas Day food has remained very much the same as in the 1950’s, turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas Pudding but the big difference being that the vegetables we ate would always come from your own garden and not via Mr Tesco or Mr. Sainsbury! Wine is almost a must these days, whereas a glass of Sherry, a Port and Lemon or a glass of beer were the only forms of alcohol on offer in the 1950’s
Life was very different then but it was also very enjoyable. Mind you today I would not miss my modern Christmas with my family and grandchildren round me.
Griff Writes:Who still admires their swimming achievements at the Guildhall Swimming Baths?
News and Views:
The ABC/Essoldo/Carlton Cinema, High Street, Cosham
Built in 1934, as The Carlton Cinema, the building was badly damaged during a bombing raid in World War II. 4 people died in the explosion but the cinema was renovated and reopened. In 1982 it was renovated and became a 3 screen cinema but closed its doors in 2007. Since then, the future of the building has been uncertain with locals frequently campaigning to stop demolition and conversion to student accommodation or flats.
Since opening as The Carlton in the 30s, this cinema has had many aliases: The Carlton; The Classic; Essoldo; Cannon; ABC and, before closure, was known as Cineplex. But now the contractors have moved in and example of Portsmouth’s Art Deco architecture is now just a pile of dust.
On this day 26th December 1960-1965
On 26/12/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was The Arthur Haynes Show (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68.The big news story of the day was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada).
On 26/12/1961 the number one single was Tower of Strength - Frankie Vaughan and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrell Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/12/1962 the number one single was Return to Sender - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was "Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89. The big news story of the day was Take Your Pick (AR)".
On 26/12/1963 the number one single was I Want to Hold Your hand - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/12/1964 the number one single was I Feel Fine - The Beatles and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 26/12/1965 the number one single was Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out - The Beatles and the number one album was Rubber Soul - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.