Web Page No 2260
6th May 2016
Top Picture: The Classic (Essoldo Cosham)
Second Picture: The sinking of the Torrey Canyon
Third Picture: The M1 in 1961
I recently came across this interesting survey about the 1960s, how much of it do you agree with?
When people of our age were asked what was it like to live in Britain in the sixties? Here are some of the answers
We had no mobile phones or the Internet. There were limited opportunities for travel; and for some the 60s was a time of great social change.
Firstly music in the 60s
They were asked...
What music did you listen to? Pop, jazz or classical?
Pop was the first choice of most people who were young in the 60s. The favourites being:
The Beatles, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and Herman's Hermits
Then the Cinema
Television was very much the in thing and cinemas were starting to close. But the cinema was still a popular pastime with many. When asked "Did you go to the cinema in the 60s? If so, which films did you see? What did you think of them?"
When asked how often did people go? The answers were
"Once a week", "Twice a week", "Yes many times", "Sometimes"
" Saturday morning for only a tanner"
What did they watch?
James Bond ("Dr No", "Goldfinger", "From Russia with Love", "Thunderball"), "Easy Rider", "The Sound of Music", "The Italian Job", "Carry On" films
Eating out was less popular than today. It was an expensive luxury. But restaurants were becoming more popular. Chinese and Indian cuisine was popular with the younger generation.
Some dining places mentioned were:
Coffee bars, Lyons Corner House, We only ate out on holiday, usually fish & chips and Devon Cream Tea once a year, Pub food, Woolworth's Café
Smoking was popular in the 60s despite health worries, 70% of men and 40% of women smoked. The most popular brand was "Embassy Filter". Woodbines were considered the cheapest cigarettes and Peter Stuyvesant was an up-market brand.
Drinking. What was your favourite drink in the sixties?
These are some of the most popular:
Watney's Red Barrel, Double Diamond, Light Ale, Pale Ale
Port & Lemon, Gin & Orange, Babycham, Snowball, Cherry Brandy, you never saw a lady with a pint!
Shopping for food. Supermarkets were new and many people still used local shops for their main shopping. Some of these shops were prepared to deliver but increasingly people preferred the better value and choice offered by the supermarkets. Generally people in rural areas preferred local shops. However, one woman was prepared to walk three miles to the supermarket each week! Some of today's familiar names were there in the sixties - Tesco and Sainsbury. Marks & Spencer also sold food in the sixties, though it was considered expensive by some. Some names from the past were MacFisheries and Fine Fare. Tea was still Britain's favourite, but coffee was gaining ground
Consumer goods. The sixties brought a multitude of electric gadgets that made life easier and more enjoyable. At the start of the sixties three quarters of the population had a TV, by the end it was nearer 100%.
These are some of the most popular gadgets
TV, Radio, Record player, Radiogram, Reel to reel tape recorder, Washing machine (twin tub)
In the kitchen, most people had a washing machine, but it was a twin tub not an automatic. Separate spin-dryers were also common. Electrical gadgets were still considered luxuries and people had to save to buy things rather than have them on credit.
Shopping for clothes. Many people still made their own clothes but the most popular shops for ladies' clothes were Marks & Spencer, C & A, the Co-op or Lewis's. For men it was the era of the made-to-measure suit. Most people went to Burton's or John Collier.
What about the new motorways? Some found them fantastic - "awe inspiring", "marvellous" and "excellent", others went out of their way not to use them: Service stations were not well-liked. They were expensive for petrol and food and not considered pleasant.
The Issues of the day. The big issue was Dr Beeching's pruning of under-used of branch lines. Other newsworthy items were:
CND - "Ban the Bomb" Marches, The Profumo Scandal, The death President Kennedy, The death of Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson's Labour Government, Sinking of the Torrey Canyon, 1968 student uprising in Paris, Pollution, Housing, Princess Margaret's Wedding, The Rhodesian Crisis, Apartheid in South Africa, Preparing for decimalisation, The Common Market, Biafra, The Iron Curtain, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Prince of Wales' Investiture, 11+, Rising interest rates, Devaluation, Winning the World Cup, Manned space flight and landing on the moon
Finally what was better in the 60s than today? A slower pace of life, less pressure to succeed and lower expectations. Less traffic and quieter roads but this did not stop some horrendous traffic jams in the holiday season. Greater trust and neighbourliness and families did more together. Religion was also more important than today (although in the fifties less than ten percent of people went to church regularly). Children could play outside without too much worry. There is much greater pressure to build on land today and Britain was cleaner, there was less pollution and less noise.
When asked what was better today......there was one area many mentioned. People today have access to much better healthcare, in spite of the NHS waiting lists. Many people felt that this was a significant improvement in their lives.
Travel opportunities and cheaper air travel were mentioned. In the sixties, travel abroad was felt to be for the privileged classes only. Most people had to make do with a holiday in the UK. Automatic washing machines and dishwashers were for the few, rather than for the majority. There is greater tolerance of different racial groups now than in the sixties and a greater recognition of women's rights.
The big question.....Overall, do you think life was better in the 60s than today?
These are some of the answers:
Yes, but only because I was younger, Life was not so complicated then but more physical as there were not so many household gadgets, children could be disciplined, it was less crowded and the work culture different
One final comment was:- "No the sixties were better. I think the teenagers of the sixties had the best of everything. Baby boomer's parents had nothing as children and wanted to shower their children with the best they could afford. The parents had broken the back of music resistance with Rock'n'Roll leaving the 60s wide open for a world change in music. And change it did, along came the pill, giving girls as much right to sex as boys!
There is no contest - now can you turn me back to 16 please! "
Keep in touch
News and Views:
On this day 6th May 1960-1965
On 06/05/1960 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 Wagon Train (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. The big news story of the day was Contraceptive pill becomes available in US.
On 06/05/1961 the number one single was Blue Moon - The Marcels 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.
On 06/05/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - 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.
On 06/05/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) 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 06/05/1964 the number one single was Don't Throw Your Love Away - Searchers and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) 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 06/05/1965 the number one single was Ticket to Ride - 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 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.