Web Page 1164
13th July 2013
Top Picture: Queen Mary
Bottom Picture: Sputnick 1
For most of us we were too young to remember the 1940’s but we do remember a lot from the 1950’s.
This was still post war Britain and certain foods were still on ration even during the period of the Festival of Britain. We lost a monarch (George V1) and gained a Queen (Elizabeth 11), we gained a Princess (Anne) and lost a Consort (Queen Mary). There were the terrible floods on the east coast of Britain, which resulted in much loss of life, and this was balanced out by Coronation fever as we moved in 1953. The Queen launched the Royal yacht Britannia, although this has been ordered by her father, he never set foot on it, in fact Queen Elizabeth was the only reigning monarch to use it. Little did she know that some six decades later she would be present when the Yacht was decommissioned.
It was very likely that your mother did not work outside the home, but instead concentrated on providing a safe and cosy environment for the family. Your father would have gone out to work to provide an income for your family. In 1957 the average wage was £10.00 per week whereas the average weekly fifty years lat a weekly basket of basic foods such as milk, bread, butter was £430. In 1957 the work time needed to pay for was three hours come 2007 that time was reduced to 40 minutes!
Festival of Britain marked the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was a boost to the population after the privations of wartime. The festival generated demand for new fashions in furniture and furnishings. The exhibits introduced new styles of pottery, ceramics, fabrics and furniture made from revolutionary materials - fibreglass, plywood, Formica and plastics.
The major event, of course, was the Coronation but how many of you remember that to celebrate the event, everyone was allowed an extra pound of sugar and four ounces of margarine. Of course this was all topped off when the summit of Mount Everest was reached for the first time by Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing.
It was 1954 that really made the housewives cheer because this was the year that all rationing ended. No more scrimping scratching around for meals! Clothes rationing had ended way back in 1949 and by the early 1950’s women in particular wanted dresses and skirts made with a huge amount of fabric to make up for the meagre amounts they had endured during the war.
Moving towards the end of the decade and we find that the space Race had begun with the Soviet Union launching the first vehicle to orbit the Earth, the satellite Sputnik 1, on 4th October 1957. This was followed a month later by the launch of Sputnik 2. On board was the first living creature to travel from Earth into space, a dog named Laika.
The 1950s saw the introduction of fish fingers, electric fires, washing machine, ink and soft toilet paper. A typical home had a cooker, vacuum cleaner and a plug-in radio. Only 33 per cent of households had a washing machine. Most people were still doing their washing by hand. Only 15 per cent had a fridge and freezers and tumble dryers were scarcely heard of. Only 10 per cent of the population had a telephone and people still listened to gramophone records
For most families’ entertainment came from the radio (or ‘wireless’) or through listening to 78rpm records on a gramophone or radiogram. However, the Coronation gave a huge boost to the uptake of television. Cameras had never before been allowed inside Westminster Abbey for a Coronation, and the general public were thrilled to be able to watch the event live. Families crowded into the home of anyone lucky enough to have a television to watch the event. We actually went over the road to watch a neighbours rented black and white TV with one single channel, BBC.
As children we spent a lot of time playing with other children mainly outdoors we also enjoyed hobbies such as stamp collecting and train spotting. Families enjoyed playing board games such as Monopoly, Ludo, and Snakes and Ladders and there was a craze for yo-yos, 3D-spectacles, I-Spy books and hoola hoops.
For our mothers most food shopping was done every day and from local shops. Not every household owned a car or a refrigerator, so food shopping was part of our mum’s daily routine.
It would have been quite normal to visit separate shops for your bread, meat, vegetables, fish etc. It was quite common too, for tradesmen to deliver their goods direct to the housewife. Groceries and greengroceries were often delivered each week in a motorised van and milk was delivered every day. I can remember the look of surprise on my mothers face when she realised that Pink’s sold loose sherry and if you took a bottle with a cork along they would fill it up.
We, as kids, might not have realised it but the 1950’swerea hot bed of inventions. For example 1950 the credit card, 1951 super glue, power steering and the video tape recorder. 1953 saw the Black Box flight recorder and 1954 the first non-stick pan. Hoe the kids in 1955 must have cheered when Lego was invented and in 1958 when the Barbie Doll hit the headlines. The hovercraft and Velcro made their appearances in 1956.
My, my I must be getting old or is it just reaching a mature vintage?
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News and Views:
On the is day 13th July 1960-1965
On 16/07/1960 the number one single was Good Timin' - Jimmy Jones 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 Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/07/1961 the number one single was Runaway - Del Shannon and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) 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.
On 16/07/1962 the number one single was Come Outside - Mike Sarne with Wendy Richard 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 Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/07/1963 the number one single was I Like It - Gerry & the Pacemakers 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 Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/07/1964 the number one single was House of the Rising Sun - Animals and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Room at the Top (ITV) 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.
On 16/07/1965 the number one single was I'm Alive - Hollies and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. 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.