Thank You!

This is a very short post to say a big thank you to everyone who has ever read, or even taken a brief look at, my blog. This morning the counter showed that my humble little blog had topped 100,000 hits world wide. I’m thrilled!

When I started writing it, just a few years ago, I thought I had enough ideas for maybe a dozen posts. I also thought that it would have a very limited appeal. I haven’t broken any records or made the news but I’m SO happy to have reached so many people in so many countries.

I enjoy writing it and I haven’t run out of ideas – yet!

Thank You In Different Languages photos, royalty-free images, graphics,  vectors & videos | Adobe Stock
I chose this one because it includes the Welsh ‘diolch’ and not all of them do.
The countries in the world where the blog has been seen with the frequency indicated by the shade.

Lent

I have a draft post which will go out in the next few days but as it’s Ash Wednesday today and therefore, to Christians, the first day of Lent, I thought I’d share some of my memories of Lent when I was young. Nowadays, I don’t hear many people talking about Lent and about giving anything up for six weeks but when I was a child we wouldn’t have even considered not doing it.

Every year, for most of my school days, I gave up biscuits. What a pleasure it was, over the Easter weekend, to indulge in not only a chocolate Easter egg from my mum and dad but a couple of biscuits with a cup of tea. I remember one year, when I was old enough to go to the shop on my own, my mum gave me some money (it would have been approximately a shilling – about 5 pence in current money)) to choose my own packet. My current favourites at that time were called Milk and Honey and were a bit like Jammy Dodgers and that’s what I chose.

Image result for milk and honey biscuits
This ad says they were two shillings and fourpence per pound. A standard packet is about eight ounces.

One Lent, when I was about ten, I gave up sugar in tea. Within days I found I preferred it and still take it sugarless. In comparison, my mum gave up taking sugar in her tea every Lent for her whole life. You would have thought that by the end of six weeks she would have got used to the sugarless drink. Oh no! Every year she spent six weeks disliking the taste of every single cuppa and breathing a sigh of relief when she first allowed herself a cup of tea with sugar in.

Image result for 1950s sugar packet
A 1950s pack of sugar. I’d forgotten how different they were!

My sister often gave up sweets for Lent. One year (or maybe she did it more than once and kept it quiet?) she gave them up as usual but every time she was offered one she would take it and pop it in a tin in her bedroom. These were all saved until, when Lent ended, she had a nice little collection to munch her way through.

Image result for 1950s sweets uk
Image result for 1950s sweets uk
Some examples of the kind of sweets which might have been saved in my sister’s tin – with apologies to her for telling the tale!)

As always the images used, in order to add a bit of atmosphere to the post, are sourced from the Internet. I make every effort to avoid infringing copyright but if anyone objects to my use of an image I will remove it.

Tanning – and Burning.

We are all now fully aware of the potential hazards of exposure to the sun. Even here, in the relatively un-sunny climate of the British Isles, most of us know a few people who have had treatment for malignant moles or early signs of skin cancer.

Back in the 1950s, there was suntan lotion available but the emphasis was more on soothing burnt skin after the event. In our house this was done using calamine lotion.

Calamine Lotion for 27 and a half a pence old money | High school memories,  Calamine lotion, School memories
This one is post-decimalisation so 1970s – but it looked exactly the same in the 1950s when I was young.

Doing my research for this post, I have learned that the early creams were meant to reduce the burning whilst allowing you to acquire a ‘healthy tan’. We all now know that ‘healthy tan’ is a misnomer. These early creams and oils were designed to reduce burning from UVB light but didn’t filter out UVA light which gives you a tan but also causes cancer. These early potions were called suntan lotions/ creams because the aim was to help you get a tan. The term ‘sun protection’ was never heard as the wasn’t seen as something we needed protecting from.

The History of Sunscreen
The artist behind this iconic Coppertone suntan lotion ad died in 2006. Joyce Ballantyne Brand drew the image of a puppy tugging at the bathing suit of a little girl in 1959. Her daughter, Cheri Brand Irwin, was the model for this ad.

sunscreens
Ambre Solaire ~ Anonym

In the 1920s and 30s, the very rich and the aristocratic were flocking to the French Riviera whereas the normal working person was not legally entitled to paid holiday leave until 1939. Until the late 1960s, the sunny holiday abroad was still the preserve of the better off. So for many decades a tan had been seen as a sign of wealth. With the rise of the package holiday through the 1970s, more and more people were able to afford to take a holiday in the sun but it was a while longer before our ideas about tanning caught up.

All images gleaned from Google Images, Pinterest and Wikipedia. I make every effort to use only pictures which I believe I am at liberty to use. If anyone feels that I have inadvertently infringed copyright please contact me and I’ll remove the offending image. Thanks too, to Britain’s Science Museum for some interesting facts on the history of sun protection.

Games Which Weren’t On Screens

This rather odd title will make sense (I hope!) once you read on. The number of games which can be played on phones and other devices now is unlimited. One can play with other people or alone. Most of the games are recent creations and new ones are appearing all the time – so I’m told. There are complex, role-playing games but at the other end of the scale there are on-screen jigsaws, patience, Scrabble, crosswords etc etc.

When we were young, in the days before electronic devices, we were never without games to play whenever we couldn’t be outside. There were board games, card games, jigsaws, pencil and paper games and verbal games. I’ll look at each category in turn.

Boards Games

As slightly older children, I remember us playing Monopoly and Cluedo but when we were very young the games I remember best are Ludo, Snakes and Ladders and Draughts.

Ludo | Berwick | V&A Search the Collections
STPMC1993.620
RARE HARLESDEN SERIES SNAKES & LADDERS BOARD GAME WITH DRESSED ANIMALS  c1930's | eBay

Card Games

The favourites in our toy cupboard were Snap, Old Maid and Happy Families

VINTAGE SNAP CARD Game - British Made - £9.99 | PicClick UK

Jigsaws

Such hours of fun! We began as young children with the 8 or 10 piece ones and moved up to more complex ones as we became older and better at them.

PHILMAR 1950'S VINTAGE Jigsaw Set of 2 Puzzles, each around 150 pieces -  £2.50 | PicClick UK

Pencil and Paper Games

We could have hours of indoor fun with scrap paper and pencils. Hangman was a favourite as was Noughts and Crosses. We had many laughs over games of Consequences.

Verbal Games

I-Spy is probably the best known one of these. Another alphabet game we used to play was ‘I packed my case and in it I put a/ an .. ‘. There are different versions of it but whatever the words used in the opening sentence, the game then goes on like this. The first person completes the sentence with an item which begins with A. Taking it in turns, the next person has to think of an item beginning with B but also has to include the A word. And so it goes on. If you get to Z that person has to complete the sentence with all 26 items in the right order. Good memory training!

All images gleaned from Google Images and Wikipedia. I make every effort to use only pictures which I believe I am at liberty to use. If anyone feels that I have inadvertently infringed copyright please contact me and I’ll remove the offending image.

Woolworths – or ‘Woolies’

A few years ago I wrote a post in this blog about High Street shops which have disappeared from our towns. This time I am focusing one single store, our beloved Woolies which disappeared for ever more than ten years ago. Readers in other countries might not be familiar with the chain but might well have similar stores they remember as fondly.

Woolworths started out in the UK in 1909 as F. W. Woolworth & Co., part of the American company that was established in 1879. The first store was on Church Street in Liverpool and sold children’s clothing, stationery and toys. Woolworths took off in the mid-1920s with stores opening as often as every two to three weeks. By 2008 there were 807 Woolworths stores. In November 2008 Woolworths Group entered administration with Deloitte, and by early January 2009 all of its stores had closed.

woolworths 1950's | The good old days, My childhood memories, Childhood  memories

As we lived in the countryside, towns with Woolworths were only visited occasionally which is what made the shop all the more exciting, especially to we three children.

When I was young a visit to Woolies was second only to a visit to Santa’s Grotto. Our trips to a major town with a Woolies happened only a few times a year. Cardiff, for example, was a two hour drive away so a it was major expedition on 1950s roads with three children in the back. Necessities were seen to first. If it was a Christmas shopping trip we looked for presents, if it was to buy new winter coats and shoes or new summer clothes for anyone – never the whole family at once, money was tight! – we went to C and A’s, Littlewoods or British Home Stores first. Then, when the serious shopping was done, we went to Woolies. Our reward for not moaning too much as we trailed around the shops was that wonderful treat – the Woolies Pick and Mix. It was always near the entrance so you could smell the sweet, sugary smell as you went through the door. My mum was really fussy about our teeth so being given permission to choose a bag of Pick and Mix was heaven! Near the sweet stall there was always a peanut roaster and my dad, who loved nuts, would buy himself a bag of hot, rosted, salted peanuts. They were measured out from the roaster into a paper bag. He was happy with his peanuts, we were more than happy with our bags of Pick and Mix.

Splendid 20th Century Pictures of British Woolworths - Flashbak

When we were very young, if we ever had a bit of pocket money to spend on one of these outings, my sister and I used to head straight to the jewellery stall in Woolies. We’re not talking Cartier here! They were cheap trinkets – and we loved them! My sister once spent her pocket money on a little ‘gold’ ring which promptly got bent and then completely stuck on her finger. My dad had so much trouble getting it off before the circulation in her finger stopped altogether! When we were older the three of us used to choose stationery or books or occasionally a record. Not an LP, just a single ( a 45), which would then be played to death when we got home.

Kingsbury Woolworths – Store 538 | Woolies Buildings - Then and Now

I remember that the floors were always wooden in Woolies. I also remember buying a Christmas tree decoration there once – which I still have.

William Pell - Career in Focus

Major shopping centres such as Swansea and Cardiff were such a long drive away from where we lived that it was always a full day’s expedition. Inevitably, this involved a lunch stop in a cafe or a cafeteria. Such a treat for we country bumpkins!! The Wimpy Bars were one of our choices, also a cafe called Peter Jones, and lastly, a big favourite – the Woolies cafeteria. The cafes we went to when we were on holiday were places where waitresses in black with white pinnies took your order on a notepad at your table – which had a tablecloth on it. Cafeterias, were new, modern, shiny, wipe-clean and self-service.

Retail – Woolworth's History – Strategy & Innovation

Years later, as an adult in the 1970s, I appreciated Woolworths in a completely different way. By this time I was living and working in a town and could go to Woolies any time. I could buy dress patterns and fabric, saucepans and crockery, even plants and bulbs for the garden.

In the 1980s, I would go to Woolies with my children to buy stationery, socks, PE T-shirts and bags for school. There was a photo booth there where I would get their bus pass photographs taken every August ready for the new school year. Whenever I was in town and needed something which didn’t fit in to any other shop category I knew I’d find it in Woolies.

As always, credit to Google Images and Wikipedia. I make every effort to use only images which are available for use but if anyone objects to the inclusion of any image in this post please contact me and I will remove it.

A Quick Run Through Some Things From Years Gone


I’ve left it longer than usual between posts. Call it lockdown negativity perhaps! To get me back into it I thought I’d do a quick list of things we no longer hear or see. Most of these have been covered in previous posts at other times. It’s a brief resume.

Clothes

Twinsets

Vintage 1950s Knitting Pattern Women's Twin Set Sweater image 0

Petticoats

Cravats

How To Wear Ascots & Cravats The Elegant Way — Gentleman's Gazette

Boleros

Cars

Push-button ignition

Indicators which stuck out

Trafficators - Wikipedia

Gear change on the steering column

Handbrakes in the dashboard

Bench seats in the front

Gadgetry

Reel to reel tape recorders

Grundig TK14 restored tube tape recorder from 1961-63 | Tape recorder, High  school memories, School memories

Radiograms

Rare vintage retro Ferguson Radiogram 50s 60s side | 60s retro furniture,  Retro vintage, Retro

Kitchen

Rotary whisk

Egg beater  Vintage 50s 60s fully working kitchen appliance  image 0

Soda syphon

Vintage Retro Breweriana - CWS/Co-Op Acid Etched Soda Water Syphon - Circa  1950s

Camp coffee

Blancmange

School

Inkwells

ink | Childhood Memories of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.

Blackboards and chalk

The cane

TV

The test card

405 Alive - Information - TV Test Card Music

‘Snow’

The National anthem at closing time

Presenters smoking pipes and cigarettes

Shops

Loose groceries weighed out on scales into paper bags

Photo of Beamish Museum; Inside the sweet shop. | Shop interior design, Shop  interior, Shopping

Sweet cigarettes

Candy cigarette - Wikipedia

As always, credit to Google Images and Wikipedia. I make every effort to ensure that i don’t infringe copyright. If anyone objects to my use of any image, contact me and I will remove it.

First Aid – as it used to be.

I was remembering recently a day when I fell in the playground at school and took a lump out of my knee. I still have the scar. I was taken in to school and a teacher put iodine on the wound (which stung SO much!), pressed a lump of cotton wool onto it and tied a bandage around my knee. I’m pretty sure those three things were the main, if not only, components of the school’s First Aid resources. Here are a couple of examples of First Aid kits from the 50s/ 60s. There was a heavy reliance on cotton wool, bandages and lint – to be used with iodine, no doubt.

Vintage First aid kit and original contents 1950s Wallace image 8
Vintage First aid kit and original contents 1950s Wallace image 0

Another First Aid incident I recall from Primary School is my friend having a nosebleed and the headmaster putting his big bunch of school keys down her back. After recalling this I, of course, felt compelled to look it up. Keys down the back for nosebleeds is very well documented! Although it has never been scientifically tested, some experts believe that there could be some foundation to this old wives’ tale as the cold keys possibly trigger something called the mammalian diving reflex. I do learn some interesting stuff when researching for this blog.

24th February 2005. What Happened to Milk of Magnesia? | A Date with History

Some of the things I remember my mum having in the bathroom cupboard are: TCP for cuts and grazes (NOT iodine!), calamine lotion for rashes and sunburn , Gentian Violet for mouth ulcers, Milk of Magnesia for indigestion, Marzines for travel sickness, Hactos for coughs, olive oil (small bottle bought in the chemist’s, definitely never for cooking then) for earache and aspirin for aches and pains. The same things were probably in all homes. There were fewer brands to choose from. It’s pretty basic compared with what we have available now but definitely not as primitive as the vinegar and brown paper we know of from the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill. Once again, I felt impelled to look this up. I already knew that vinegar has been used as a disinfectant/ antiseptic for thousands of years but I was surprised to find a lot of evidence of vinegar and brown paper being used together on cuts, bruises, sprains and even nosebleeds. Here is a quote from one of Charles Dickens’ books:

In Nicholas Nickleby,  Dickens describes Squeers recovering from heavy bruising which required “Vinegar and brown paper, vinegar and brown paper, from morning to night. I suppose there was a matter of half a ream of brown paper stuck upon me from first to last.”

Pray For Lilly: With vinegar and brown paper ...

As always, credit to Google Images and Wikipedia. I make every effort to set my search filters so that I don’t infringe copyright. However, if anyone objects to the use of any image in this post, please contact me and I will remove it.

Facial Hair Through Time

I was thinking recently about the way beards have made a massive comeback in the past few years. That got me musing on men’s facial hair trends in my lifetime.

My memory of men in the 1950s is that I rarely saw anyone with either a beard or a moustache. As we can do so easily these days, I decided to research this. It’s fascinating the way facial hair, in various combinations, and designs, has gone in and out of fashion for hundreds of years.

The beard has been falling in and out of favour for many years. Going back just a few generations, we can see a huge variety of trends which have come and gone and sometimes come back.

So first, a quick run through from the 1800’s up to the Fifties.

In the early 1800s bushy side whiskers were very fashionable. 

History of Beards: The Victorians | Victorian Beard History
1800’s side whiskers.

Full beards were everywhere for most of the mid to late Victorian era.
Charles Darwin - Theory, Book & Quotes - Biography
Charles Darwin.

In Europe, during World War 1, men started shaving off their beards and just having moustaches because it was difficult to put a gas mask on over a full beard. The 1920s and 1930s saw the beard become almost exclusive to more elderly gentlemen, unlike the trendy young beardies of today. 

Toothbrush moustaches were fashionable for a while in the 1930s and 40s but disappeared after World War One when they became associated with Adolf Hitler.

Here is Charlie Chaplin with his toothbrush moustache.

Pencil moustaches were sported by some 1940s film stars – Errol Flynn, David Niven, Clark Gable and Leslie Phillips come to mind.

Ding dong! Leslie Phillips turns 90 | Norton of Morton
Leslie Philips.
Clark Gable and his pencil moustache | Clark gable, Actors, Classic  hollywood
Clark Gable.

Onwards to my era now and in the 1950s most men were clean-shaven. I can’t remember any men I knew – family or otherwise, having either a beard or a moustache. The film stars were all clean-shaven too and so were the popular bands and singers of the time – Lonnie Donnegan, Elvis, Buddy Holly,

Alan Ladd 1950s.JPG
Alan Ladd in the 50s.
Dirk Bogarde Hallmark Hall of Fame.JPG
Dirk Bogarde

I do, however, remember that the teddy boys of the late 50s/ early 60s grew long sideboards/ sideburns. Here, they are more commonly called sideboards which always puzzled me as a child as a sideboard is also an item of furniture.

John Lennon, ever-changing & always inspiring Personal Style |
John Lennon in his teddy boy years.

In the 60s the beatnik cult arrived and, although we didn’t see any in the rural area I lived in, I was aware of the trend and the accompanying facial hair.

By the late 60s – especially after Woodstock – the long hair and beards of the hippies were becoming more popular and by the early 70s there was a trend for the droopy moustache.

Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds with a 70s droopy moustache.
A John Lennon Memoir — 1969. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George… | by  Dr. Patricia Farrell | Medium
John Lennon again with the 70s hippie look.

Finally, some words associated with facial hair. Some of these I have only learned from doing this research.

Mutton chops, side whiskers, sideboards, sideburns, goatee, designer stubble, handlebar, horseshoe, toothbrush, pencil, chinstrap, chin curtain.

 

If anyone wants to look into the history of beards in more detail, I recommend Dr Alun Withey’s excellent blog which I have been following for a while https://dralun.wordpress.com/

 

 

Credit to Wikipedia, Google Images, historic-uk.com, bbc.co.uk. I make every effort not to infringe copyright but if anyone objects the the use of any image in this post please contact me and I will remove it. Also, any inaccuracies spotted will be rectified once drawn to my attention.

 

 

Police in The 50s and 60s

My childhood recollections of 1950s policemen (no policewomen then!) are based on the ones I knew from story books and from seeing PC’s on point duty when we went away on holiday to bigger towns than ours. Point duty was what came before roundabouts and traffic lights and they wore white oversleeves to make them easily visible. It was a very important duty because there were no motorways or by-passes so all main routes passed through towns. A journey to a summer holiday destination involved queue after queue.

Noddy Gets into Trouble Book 8 - JEANNIEJEANNIEJEANNIE.CO.UK    Toy Town Stories - Mr Plod's Search For Noddy, Enid Blyton, Used; Good Book

Mr Plod was the kindly policeman in the Noddy stories.

Five Find-Outers - Wikipedia    The Five Find-Outers | Children's Books Wiki | Fandom

Also by Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and the Secret Seven were always having adventures and sorting out misdeeds. The policeman was usually there at the end to take them safely home or to thank them.

Dixon of Dock Green - Wikipedia    Z-Cars: What we were watching 40 years ago | BT

Dixon of Dock Green and, later, Z-Cars were two police dramas of the 50s and 60s and were much loved by everyone. They were very tame and innocent compared with today’s crime dramas.

The friendly neighbourhood copper and the village ‘Bobby on a bicycle ‘ were images which formed our ideas of the police as friendly, helpful and kind.

The magic of 1950s suburbia when socks were darned, baths shared and kids roamed wild | Daily Mail Online

Latest Photographs    Bobby on a Bike » Events » Ripon Museums   Finally, a note about a policeman very well known in the area I live in now. Bill Harber was the iconic policeman with the distinctive handlebar moustache who was on point duty in the Barnsley town centre in the fifties and sixties before Barnsley was by-passed by the M1.

Bill, who died in 2017 aged 86, is well remembered from his decades directing traffic in Barnsley town centre and became almost a landmark. I started work in Barnsley in 1974 and used to see him on duty in the town.

Bill Harber               Bill Harber

Jobs We Never Heard of Back Then.

When I was a child the job choices were far more limited than they are for today’s youth. If your family were farmers, ran a shop, a pub or other business you were destined to move into that after school. If there wasn’t a family business for you, you either worked for one of the local businesses or industries or you ventured further afield. So, in my primary school days, our career aspirations were based on what we had experienced so far, which was either connected to the family’s income, or to the working people we had come across in our lives. I can remember being eight or nine and thinking that boys were so lucky because they could be train drivers, doctors or firemen. Showing a gender issue at that time which has changed somewhat over the years – but very slowly.

The following is from:   McMaster, Jane. “Business and Jobs in the 1950s” careertrend.com, https://careertrend.com/info-8214885-business-jobs-1950s.html. 18 September 2020.

‘Business and jobs in the 1950s differed significantly from what we see today. Comparatively, family shops thrived, men were the primary breadwinners and diversity in the workforce was lacking.Men had jobs similar to those of today, without the computer and technology field, which wasn’t nearly what it is today. Jobs were mainly industrial or agricultural, with many men working in blue-collar jobs as mechanics, plumbers, bus drivers, warehouse workers and road construction workers. Some worked in office jobs as executives and middle management. If women did work, they were secretaries, teachers, nurses, stewardesses and shorthand typists. Small businesses were also abundant, including family run shops such as newsagents, sweet shops, shoe repair shops, chemist shops (we didn’t call them pharmacies then) and food markets. People shopped locally back then, and the small stores thrived.’

GIBBS TOOTHPASTE HAPPY FAMILIES VINTAGE PLAYING CARD GAME SET OF 36 CARDS 1940s Happy Families Card Game, Family Card Games, Set Card Game, Playing Card Games, Vintage Playing Cards, Happy Family, World War Two, 1940s, Nostalgia    The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, c1925 #14990881

I loved the game Happy Families – but I’ve never actually met a candlestick maker.

I sometimes muse on the fact that many of my peers’ children  are in careers which didn’t even exist back in the 50s and 60s. Some of this is to do with new technology, some to do with renaming of existing roles. Some, however, are so new we could never have imagined them several decades ago. Imagine meeting an adult in the 50s who said ‘I’m a Web Designer.’  ‘I’m in HR.’ ‘I’m in Logistics.’  ‘I’m a food innovator.’ or ‘I work in IT.’

How the Typical Office Looked in the 1950s        10 Office Design Trends for 2019 - RI Group

Office interiors 1950s and now.

 

Employees at work sorting letters at the Royal Mail Mount Pleasant Sorting Office; c 1965 by Henry Grant at Museum of London        Inside Grimsby's Royal Mail sorting office during the busy Christmas season - Grimsby Live

Post Office sorting depots 1950s and now,

Picture 2 of 7         Also, in the mid 2000's, Flat Plasma Screens started to replace big lumpy CRT Screens (Cathode Ray Tubes), as shown in the picture from our 2005 site visit to the Connect2Cardiff call centre

1950s switchboard and a call centre of today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs and information thanks to Google Images, Wikipedia. I make every effort to use filters which ensure I don’t infringe copyright but if anyone objects to the use of an image in this blog please contact me so that I can remove it.