Web Page No 2168
15th June 2015
Top Picture: A Button Miscellany
Middle picture: Cobblers Last
Bottom Picture: 1950’s cocktail dress.
Make Do and Mend
The period of time covered by the 1950’s was certainly a time of extremes. This was brought to mind whilst digging through the back of a cupboard at home I came across a round Sharp’s Toffee tin with two pretty little kittens in front of a branch of catkins on the front. My grandson saw it and opened it and immediately declared it to be a box of treasures and when he left for home he took it with him. Can you guess what it was? It was my mother’s old button box which was crammed full of odds and ends as well as buttons. (We also have Pam’s mothers button box, it seemed as though we had started a collection and did not know it!) In our house when I was a kid when clothes wore out and before they were thrown away, my mother would remove all the buttons and zips etc and store them away in her button box. I am sure most of your mothers did the same.
As my Grandson, Morgan, looked through the box all sorts of odds and ends came out. Old buckles, diamante clips with stones missing, sealing wax, Reddicut Wool rug making hooks, elastic, tailor’s chalk, curtain runners and hooks, needles and pins, badges, collar studs plus loads and loads of various buttons.
Back in the 1950’s self-sufficiency meant something very different as this when post war attitudes and austerity held sway. Money and materials were still tight and savings and ingenuity were the order of the day. It meant turning worn sheets sides to middle to extend their lives, sewing leather patches onto the elbows of fathers jackets or leather strips around the sleeve ends.
Every home had its own cobblers last (I still have ours) where father would resole his shoes and reheel mothers court shoes and do whatever he could with mine.
The of course there was mothers knitting bag stuffed full with wool, patterns. Knitting needles and tape measures, a myriad of items but still not as interesting as the contents of the button box.
However there was still the Upper Class who seemed to be able to buy themselves anything. Below is a précis from a posh magazine on how to run a Cocktail Party:-
How to throw a cocktail party
Cocktail parties are popular social events for the middle and upper classes on both sides of the Atlantic. Here we have some top tips from how to dress for a Cocktail Party to invites, entertainment as well as food and drink.
Send out your invitations by post with a request to rsvp as formality and social etiquette matter greatly.
Buffets are a lazy option, so to impress your guests with hot and cold finger food passed around by a helper hired for the evening. Bacon wrap-arounds, deviled ham-cheese dip, fruit kebabs, pineapple slices, anything in aspic and crackers and cheese are always popular choices.
A cocktail party is an excellent opportunity to show off your home and your immaculate housewifely skills. Fresh flowers or seasonal greens are popular deco choices, flower bouquets or holly for Christmas. Always use cloth napkins – ideally embroidered with your own initials. Smoking is always popular and make sure that there are plenty of fancy ashtrays around for your party guests to gather around. Always have a dedicated smoking room where the men can smoke their cigars.
Most homes have an alcohol cabinet and a drinks trolley. Mixers and cocktails are all the rage such as Martinis, Side Cars, Vodka Highballs or Whiskey Sours. Wine should have been decanted beforehand, and it is important that each drink is served in the correct glass, so have a full range ready at hand. Always make a fruit punch and serve it in punch bowls or cups.
Get your gramophone ready with some Frank Sinatra, Al Martino, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole or jazz by Miles Davis or Ted Heath.
Cocktail parties are formal affairs so women should wear evening dresses, possibly strapless or full-circle frocks worn with petticoats and high heels. Men should wear an evening suit paired with a tie and a pocket square.
The two sides of the coin!
Keep in touch
I remember the Suez Crisis all too well! We had a fancy dress competition at Solent Rd School and I asked my parents what could I go as. My father said a petrol pump and sure enough I did. I had the shell headress and a fake pump attachment. I even had a notice around my neck warning of low supplies. About 7 yrs later my future husband went to Aden and was fighting forces supported by Nasser. He said he soon learnt a very rude comment on Nasser which was shouted out to local people who idolised him. They weren`t too happy to hear this.
News and Views:
On this day 15th June 1960-1965
On 15/06/1960 the number one single was Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) 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 15/06/1961 the number one single was Surrender - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Probation Officer (ATV) 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 15/06/1962 the number one single was Good Luck Charm - Elvis Presley 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. The big news story of the day was 3 convicts dig out of Alcatraz with spoons.
On 15/06/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles 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 15/06/1964 the number one single was You're My World - Cilla Black and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. 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 Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 15/06/1965 the number one single was Long Live Love - Sandie Shaw 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.