Top Picture: Christophers shoe shop in Cosham High Street
Second Picture: The Chelsea Boot with Cuban Heels.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Whilst I appreciated the time and effort that many of you girls went to just to look fashionable and attractive when we were all in our teens and as I cannot pretend to be a ladies fashion guru but have you thought about us blokes? Men’s fashion at that time was another matter specially shoe styles and here I apologise in advance to Mary Ann Christopher if she reads this as she is still very much in the shoe trade in the shop her grandfather father started in 1910 in Cosham High Street.
Well, just looking back to the ‘60’s I started to realise what difficult decisions we had to make as what to wear on our feet; it certainly was not a case of trainers everywhere. Actually back then we did not call them trainers, they were plimsolls or gym shoes and no one would have even considered wearing them out socially, they were just for games and sports at school.
I suppose we lads first became aware of men’s shoe fashions when the Winkle Picker shoes first hit the streets. These shoes were accompanied by warnings from the older generation that they would cramp the toes, give us bunions and generally give us all terrible feet in the future, but we ignored the advise and persisted and even today both men and women can still buy high fashion Winkle Picker shoes. However, galling as it is, I think we all have to admit that maybe some of the older generation were right because now 50 years later many of our contemporaries suffer from cramped toes, bunions and generally terrible feet .
The next movement in shoe fashion was the chisel point shoes, these being wider and cut off at the end were far kinder on the feet and gave your toes room to move and so were far more acceptable to our parents (especially mine, I was never allowed to buy Winkle Pickers). This logic also applied to the resurrection of the Chelsea Boot (it was originally an Edwardian fashion). Here we had two basic types available the zip sided, which I preferred and still prefer and the elastic sided whose draw back was stretched elastic after a time which made the shoes floppy. These styles were fine until the advent of the Cuban heel and once again the argument about these sorts of shoes being bad for the feet emerged but this time the supposed fact that these high heels were bad for young men’s backs and hip joints was circulated but as far as I can remember this had no effect on our purchasing plans what so ever.
For time suede shoes in varying styles were all the rage and this is when the Hush Puppies Company really came into its own. I remember having a grey pair of suede shoes of which was inordinately proud!!! But I never actually owned a pair of genuine Hush Puppies.
High sided Desert Boots were popular as were sandals and as many of you know sandals are still my favoured form of footwear and have been for decades!
All this was well before the popularisation of Doc Martens with Airwave soles and other semi industrial shoes which suddenly broke onto the fashion market and definitely well before the platform shoes of the 1970’s, now those really were dangerous!!!
So ladies I hope that you can see that it was not just you who had to make decisions about shoe styles. Granted we did not have to decide between stiletto heels of varying heights or the more practical and comfortable kitten heels. We had our problems too!!!!
Stay in touch,
You Write: Ferry Memories
Seeing your pictures of the IOW ferries reminded me about those tin strips that you would punch out your name on. The machine was like a large clock with the letters of the alphabet instead of numbers and you turned the large steel pointer to each letter and stamped it on the tin strip. There was one on Ryde pier which kept us amused whilst waiting interminably for the ferry home. What was the purpose of those things who really wanted or needed a piece of tin with your name (usually misspelt) on it!! Ah well, little things........
Still those long days on the beach at Whitecliff Bay were worth the wait for the ferry at the end of the day. I also remember the wash created by the paddle steamer calling at South Parade Pier, a highly prized event when bobbing about in the water in the huge rubber inner tube! Happy days.
It was good to see that picture of the PS Ryde, the photos I have seen lately show her to be a derelict. From 1966 to 1968 I worked on the Isle of Wight ferries and during the summer I crewed on the Ryde as the bow rope man. Because she was a paddle driven vessel, when she was going astern I and the ordinary seaman would have to man a wheel in the bows that worked the bow rudder, the rudder at the stern didn't have enough effect to turn her. We used to get passengers from all over the world come and sail on the Ryde because steam ships were becoming a rarity by then. I had many happy times working on her.
By the early 70s it was going to be scrapped but someone purchased her and moored her at Binfield on the Isle of Wight and she became a night club. In the late 70s there was a fire on board, and, soon after the night club closed. She has been left there ever since and is rotting so badly that there is no chance of rescuing her now.
The time I spent working on the Isle of Wight ferries were good times and I made some life time friends amongst the crew. During the summer on a Wednesday night there was a service called the Beat Cruise. We would take on passengers at the Hard in Portsmouth and the pier at Ryde and then sail the MV Shanklin up and down the Solent until 1 or 2 in the morning. We had a DJ and two good bands on board, (on a site called Portsmouth Music Scene they state that it was a radio 1 DJ, I don't think that is likely), I seem to remember Procul Harem, Amen Corner and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch. Does anyone else remember these cruises?
News and Views:
Bobby Rydell has just announced a new series of tour dates in the USA and Australia.
On this day 12th February 1960-1965.
15/02/1960the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
15/02/1961the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was 18 US figure skaters killed in air crash.
15/02/1962the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - 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 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
15/02/1963the number one single was Diamonds - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. 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 Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Liz Taylor films Cleopatra.
15/02/1964the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
15/02/1965the number one single was You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. 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 Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Canada's Maple Leaf flag raised for first time