Web Page No 2416
20th October 2017
First Picture: Harold McMillan
Second Picture: Laurence Olivier arriving at the Royal Court Theatre in 1957 shows there's little traffic on the roads of London in stark contrast to the city today
Third Picture: A Polio Victim enjoys an evening out
1957 the Happiest Year!
Recently the Daily Mail declared that 1957 was the happiest year of the last century. Well it was the year I took my 11+ and the year I started at Court Lane. Now more from that year:-
Homes costing £2,000, a yo-yo for Christmas was a great present and there were no traffic jams!
One in five homes had a washing machine and only one in 20 had a fridge. Many homes had outdoor toilets and central heating was not very common either. The post war increase in happiness peaked in 1957 according to these researchers and levels of happiness in Britain have never returned to the levels seen in 1957
When Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously declared in 1957 that 'we have never had it so good', it turns out that maybe he was right.
The article claims that people were happier, even though they were struck down by illnesses such as polio.
The researchers put their findings down to more realistic expectations about a happy life, despite a six-day working week and lack of foreign holidays. After living through two world wars, it is believed people had learned to count their blessings.
The analysis is taken from eight million books used to track contentment from 1776 to 2009, based on positive words such as 'peaceful', 'enjoyment' and 'happiness' compared to negative words such as 'stress' and 'unhappy'. It shows a rise in joy after 1945, peaking in 1957, a fall through the nationwide strikes and inflation of 1978's Winter of Discontent, and then a recovery, but never to the happiness levels of the 1950s.
One of the co-authors said that 'In 1957, memories of the Second World War and the period of austerity that followed were still fresh in the mind of the nation, perhaps helping people to appreciate what they had.
He added: 'It may be that people in the 1950s had a greater sense of realism about happiness.'
Rationing was over by 1957, and the modern age was being ushered in with the space race beginning, Elvis Presley on the radio and technology starting to make domestic life easier.
Men could expect to live to 66 on average, and women to 71, with paid holiday half what it is now, but Mr Macmillan still seemed to capture the mood of a nation when, in a speech at Bedford Town's football ground, he said: 'Let us be frank about it – most of our people have never had it so good.'
While there is much more individualism now, in the 1950s people were more likely to feel as if they had a common goal, so could for example leave their door open when they went out because they trusted their neighbours. Now we are more aware of what is happening in the world than people were then, but could this be making us unhappier as people now have to face pressures put upon them, such as work stress, which might have increased.'
In 1957, the year of the Queen's first televised Christmas message, there were just two TV Channels.
Traffic jams barely existed, with only 4 million cars on the road compared to 37 million today.
Women made up a third of the workforce – that figure is now 46%.
A first home cost five times the average annual wage in the 1950s, with earnings typically at £7.50 a week and houses priced at £2,000. Now, getting on the property ladder costs about eight times your salary.
There were just 22,000 divorces – a number which had leapt to 111,000 by 2014 – and women got married at 25 on average, but now wait until they're 34.
The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, a satellite the size of a beach ball – 15 years before astronaut Tim Peake was born.
The most popular gifts for children were yo-yos and I-Spy books.
Around the World in 80 Days, starring David Niven and Shirley MacLaine, won the Oscar for best film.
Paul Anka's Diana was the best-selling single of 1957.
Ah well it is good to look back!!!!
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News and Views:
On this day 20th October 1960-1965
On 20/10/1960 the number one single was Tell Laura I Love Her - Ricky Valance and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) 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 20/10/1961 the number one single was Michael - The Highwaymen and the number one album was The Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 20/10/1962 the number one single was Telstar - The Tornadoes and the number one album was Best of Ball Barber & Bilk. 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 day was Hyde Park Underpass opens.
On 20/10/1963 the number one single was Do You Love Me? - Brian Poole & the Tremoloes 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 day was Macmillan resigns as Prime Minister.
On 20/10/1964 the number one single was Oh Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison 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. The big news story of the day was Brezhnev replaces Krushchev.
On 20/10/1965 the number one single was Tears - Ken Dodd 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 Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Lesley Ann Downey's body found on Pennines.