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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Web Page 1068
18th August 2012

Top Picture: Typical Aprons of the 1950’s

Bottom Picture: A 1950’s dream Kitchen

At Home

This week we are staying at home and looking at the lives of our mothers. For many of us when we got home, whatever the time of day, mother was almost always there but have you ever thought what did she do all day? Well there was the house to clean and polish, the lunch to cook, the mending to do, the carpets to Hoover and the washing to do on Mondays and the ironing on Tuesdays. These were mainly morning jobs and as the day progressed it was the accepted thing that come the afternoon our mothers went off to their bedrooms and changed clothes for the afternoon putting aside their morning cleaning clothes.

What were their cleaning clothes I hear you ask ? Definitely not the best that McIlroys, Handleys or the local Mail Order Catalogue had to offer. But whatever the clothes these were, they were always covered, in part at least, by an apron. So let’s look at that strange item of clothing the apron.

Firstly the normal waist fastening apron which most mothers had. Many of these were homemade or they were given as inexpensive and practical gifts by the children of the family for Christmas and Birthdays. I think my mother always bought hers but I know that Pam still has one that her mother made over 60 years ago and it is still going strong. These aprons were not only practical as they covered most of the skirt but useful as well as most of them had pockets for putting handkerchiefs or pegs in! 

A step up from this basic apron was the invention, in the early 1960’s of the hooped waist sprung apron with a springy plastic insert which simply clipped around the waist, ie no more knots to get into a tangle. But these were aimed at the smart young wives who lived mainly in the modern suburbs.

Some ladies preferred to wear a complete House Coat with three quarter length sleeves. This garment had the advantage of covering most of the wearers clothing, they buttoned up at the front to keep things clean and like the other two ‘Pinneys’ had pockets for useful odds and ends.

The final type of apron worn in the mornings can only be described as the Norah Batty type, the wrap round apron. These always seemed to be floral and favoured mostly by women in the north but I have no doubt they were in use in the south as well. In fact I know they were as my Aunty Gladys used to wear one. But only in the mornings.

The mornings were for cleaning, as I have said, and then it was up to change for the afternoon. At home my grandmother lived with us for many years and I can vividly remember both her and my mother going up to change their dresses for the afternoon. What happened in the afternoons? Well in our house for at least three afternoons a week it was off to the Whist Drive for a couple of hours, either in the Drayton Institute or the Scout Hut in Farlington both on the Havant Road or the Carlton Club situated in Portsdown Avenue and that was both my mother and grandmother. I wonder do such things as Whist Drive still exist?

The other two weekday afternoons, not counting the weekends because the man of the house was home and the routine changed dramatically, were spent in either putting on your coat and hat, bag and gloves and going to visit a friend for tea and cake; or, conversely inviting them to your house for tea and cake. This scenario was a little more complicated as it meant not only doing the cleaning and preparing the meals in the morning it also meant making fancy cakes or a Victoria Sponge for the afternoon visitors (no Mary Baker or Greens Sponge Mix in our house!). Now on these days the protocol was slightly different mother changed her clothes but when it came to serving the tea and cakes out came the fancy, lace trimmed apron, to fasten around the waist to impress the visitors. This apron was always kept in the same drawer as the lace tray cloth and the lace napkins in their special rings.

This is all a world away now and if friends are invited in these days for tea and cake. Most of the cakes come out of packets and as likely as not the hostess will be wearing jeans of slacks items which would have been totally unsuitable back in the 1950’s.

Maybe soon I will have to look at the average day of father in the days after the Coronation. I will put my mind to it. But it is very strange writing about aprons as in my professional life I wore one as a Chef for over 35 years!  

Stay in Touch


You Write:

Juke Box Jury

I write:

After years of searching and with a little help from Christine, I have at long last discovered the episode of  Juke Box Jury I attended at the Guildhall was on 31st October 1964 and the Jury consisted of a very pregnant Marianne faithfull, Petula Clark, Stubby Kaye and also Gene Pitney  

Steve Writes:-

Hi Peter.

Enjoyed this weeks update and it did jog my memory on a few things.
I was in the 70th Portsmouth Wolf cub pack and pretty sure that the Akela was a Mr or Mrs Wilson and their two Sons were also there. Of course being 3 years younger than yourself they might have taken over from Mrs Chambers? I seemed to remember they lived up Gilman Lane opposite the Sunshine Inn, the Father was a builder and he had a board outside their house with Wilson and Sons Builders painted on it.

Perhaps some of your readers of my age might verify or disprove my hazy memory here.

Dr Cheyne was our doctor from when we moved up from Southsea, I found him a good old Family doctor.

Streets the Butcher rang a bell and probably my Mother used the shop, but can't place where it was in Drayton? 

And yes, good old Fishy Francis where we had many a fish supper from, or a carton of milk from the machine. In 2011 when we visited we bought fish & chips there and ate them on top of Portsdown hill, that brought back memories. Sadly no milk machine any more and now run by Chinese?

Regards Teachers Christian names, we only knew them by their Surnames and I only learned their forenames since reading your updates. And back in our day they were always addressed as Miss or Sir, we had respect for our Mentors and Elders, something today's youth seem to have lost!

An older friend of ours (John Huggins) back in later school days was the delivery boy for Nappers and drove the little Morris van for them. Sometimes he had the van on a Sunday and I remember once he took our little crowd of friends out to Harting hill for a treat.

The first time I ever witnessed the ultra-violet lights was in a pub between Widley and Purbrook on the London road, where they had a disco fairly regular. So white shirts and anything else was the order of the evenings and definitely nothing black! 

Keep up the splendid work, Regards Steve.

Malcolm Writes:-

Hi Pete, reading Christophers memories about the Odeon Cosham, the crafty ones amongst used to wait outside until one daring boy went inside, straight to the loo and opened the fire door to let those waiting in!!!!!

Keep them coming.......Malcolm 

Griff Writes:-

Now who remembers the Akela of the Monday evening Wolf Cub Pack at the 70th Portsmouth 1st Drayton Scout Troop? I think her name was Mrs Chambers and she had two sons Phillip and Marcus. Am I right?
Yes.......Phillip Chambers was in my class at Solent Rd. Not sure about Court Lane / Manor Court though.......did he move on to private education?
I have a photo of me in my 1st Drayton Cub uniform which is embarrassing . Mrs. Chambers also ran the Cubs.
Ken Wells had a Hookey nose and thin'ish featured face  so I guess he must have got the name Vulcan from the Eagle comics. I don't recall him ever being called Vulcan though in my time in his class.

News and Views:

Tom Jones tweets that he has come down with a chest infection and bronchitis and his doctors have ordered him to cancel concerts scheduled for London and the Isle of Wight.

On this day 11th August 1960-1965

On 11/08/1960 the number one single was Please Don't Tease - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 11/08/1961 the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 11/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. 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 Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was the Mont Blanc tunnel was completed

On 11/08/1963 the number one single was Sweets For My Sweet - Searchers and the number one album was Please Please Me - 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. The big news story of the week was the Great Train Robbery.
On 11/08/1964 the number one single was Do Wah Diddy Diddy - Manfred Mann and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - 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 11/08/1965 the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Riviera Police (AR) 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.

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