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To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

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John-B
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by John-B »

Stan Thomas wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:16 am
If you could have your life all over again, would you start from the original day you were born, or as from now, and the present world of today?

Ask that question of anyone over 75, and there is an almost unbelievable consistency in their answers.
Wartime, bombs nearby missing Filton aerodrome aircraft works, food rationing, secondhand old clothes passed down, etc. so I think the answer must be - it's much better to be born today. I look at my nieces and they have a very high standard of living.

Sydsmith
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by Sydsmith »

Stan, Like so many in my age group I love to look back, thing were very different and though it was tough by modern standards I never felt hard done by.

Bathing once a week seemed normal because that was what every one did, I don't remember body odour being a problem, we just washed ourselves down well with palm olive soap and a flannel every morning and night.

I was fortunate to live in a modern house with electricity, a bathroom, flush toilet, running water and sewerage, open coal fires in every room and a hot water system. They were a luxury many in the countryside did not enjoy.
My wife's family for instance did not have electricity until 1957, they cooked on an open range or paraffin stove and lighting was by Tilly lamp. (I wonder how many will know what one of those is)

When I became a TV engineer apprentice in 1956 with Wallis in Hereford, I went to many homes in Herefordshire that were only just being supplied with electricity, many of the rural farms still had Lister generators. When we arrived to install or repair something electrical, if there was only an elderly person at home, we had to start the thing, many were huge stationery engines driving a generator that ran the house and milking parlour.

I don't think anyone of my age would want to go back to those days, showering every day, central heating and modern conveniences are a must not a luxury. I would not want to go back to frost on the inside of my bedroom window in the morning. But we did enjoy our childhood, as my mother always said "blessed is he who expecteth nothing for he is never disappointed, and of course the old adage "what you have never had you don't miss"

Beside, the sun never stopped shining back then, Christmas took ages to come and lasted for weeks and you could always count on Father Christmas to bring a threppenny bit a tube of Spangles and an orange :)

Happy healthy and peaceful 2020 to everyone. Syd

Chris_R
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by Chris_R »

I'll paint a slightly different picture of the 1950s and 1960s.
Petrol rationing ended in 1950 although what was called Pool Petrol continued until 1953. Other rationing ended during the first couple of years of the 1950s and meat rationing (the last item) ended in 1954. Thereafter the 1950s and 1960s was an era of a lot of optimism and of growth, as well as change and strife.
New car models came in, Hillman introduced the "New Gay Look" in 1956 with two tone paint colours. Vauxhall introduced the new style Victor, Velox and Cresta models heavily influenced by American designs.
Hillman Gay Look.jpg
Over 500,000 people were employed in the car industry. The car manufacturers were Ford, Vauxhall, BMC (Austin, Morris, Riley, MG, Wolseley), Standard-Triumph, Jaguar, Daimler, Alvis, Armstrong Siddeley, Bentley, Rolls Royce and a couple more no doubt I've missed.
What else? Britain entered the jet age with the Comet airliner. The Vulcan bomber and the Victor and Valiant aircraft all first flew in 1952 and then entered service. Queen Elizabeth was crowned of course in 1953.
England won the Ashes in cricket in August 1953 for the first time since 1932-33. Over 300,000 new homes were built that same year. 1954 came with the news of a second Comet crash and the plane was grounded in April after a third (ultimately ceding victory in the jet age to the Boeing who learned from the British mistakes).
In 1955 you could buy a British Moped or Scooter for between £40 and £80.
It was an era of the bomb warnings. A National Warning System was setup based on messages sent by the Royal Observer Corps stationed at 15-mile intervals who would estimate which direction clouds of radiation would take and thus giving farmers a chance to move their livestock indoors and allow others to stock up with food!
It was an era of conflicts in British controlled areas. British troops quit the Suez Canal in June 1956, in July 1956 Nasser siezed control of it and the British along with the French took action against Nasser. By the beginning of November Anglo-French forces had again siezed control but by the end of the month were forced under pressure from the US to withdraw.
By 1957 it was the era of "You've never had it so good", according to the Conservative government led by Harold Macmillan. Television was expanding with BBC and ITV (ITV was launched in 1955) being watched by over 6 million people every evening.
It was an era of great change in housing. Old housing was being pulled down everywhere to make way for more modern houses. Over 20 "New Towns" were built across England.
It was an era of the growth of the package holiday to places like the Costa Brava or Palma.
It was an era of great social change.
There is in fact too much that could possibly be written here to answer the question "how was the life in Great Britain and Northen Irland in the '50's and '60's" but hopefully this and other posting will give some clues. There is plenty more on the internet that you can search out.

djl
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by djl »

Well, but that old housing demoltion included also good houses? I've on a documentary that replacing Victorian houses with tower blocks wasn't a good ideea.
I've seen part of the reel "You've never had it so good" on a documentary, but I couldn't find the whole reel.
Valves (electronic tubes) are for audio what preselector gearboxes are for cars.

Chris_R
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by Chris_R »

There was a lot of slum housing in the UK, very small houses, no inside toilet or bath facilities, basically two rooms down and two rooms above perhaps with a small scullery attached to the back. No bathroom and the toilet was a separate outbuilding. They needed to be got rid of.
The tower blocks were a good idea at the time, people got 2 and 3 bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms with built in bath and so on, it was only later that the blocks had problems, some of which may be linked to other social issues that came during the 1960s and 1970s.
But even today private apartment blocks are still being built, for example Principal Tower in Shoreditch is a 50-floor apartment block with apartments at up to £3m each.

John Hitchins
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by John Hitchins »

The only thing I would add is the bomb sites everywhere in the 50s London, dangerous really as kids would play amongst the ruins, while we paid millions to rebuild Germany I think we were left behind.

djl
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Re: To live in Britain in the '50's and '60's

Post by djl »

I wonder why the British stoped making some inovations after W.W. 2. In some industries, like auto, rail transportation, automatic washing machines, electronics Germany took the lead (some other countries too the lead too in some domanins).
In Romania we had a lot of slums. In Bucharest even after year 2000 we had houses without runing water and suerage. Anyway, that b*****d Ceauşescu wiped out a lot of good houses too... some central areas made you think they where hit by The Blitz or by atomic bomb (there was name given to the phenomen Ceauşima... Ceauşescu + Hiroshima), but in fact his stupidity and megalomania caused war like disctruction. Look for Cartierul Uranus too se what de done...
Valves (electronic tubes) are for audio what preselector gearboxes are for cars.

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