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Down Memory Lane Post War 1950's by Alastair Agurtter

Down Memory Lane Post War 1950's

Dear All, a very big welcome to more of my news and updates for "Down Memory Lane" so we can look back over times and years gone bye, hopefully triggering some very fond memories. A period of more innocent days, and happier times in our society and world.

There was once a time in Western Society that I believed to be the best time of all, a purple period after the war in the decades of 1950, 1960 and the 1970's. The 1950's still had rationing and communities stuck together and helped each other out and war had thankfully ended as men came home, even from National Service and just wanted peace with their families and loved ones.

Post war and in the 1950's, the women of the house, began to rebuild a home again. But with resources scarce, life skills were essential, for making curtains, clothes and furnishings. Lawnmowers started to be heard again across the land, as the grass began to be cut to military precision and accuracy. The gardening began in earnest again, with the growing of vegetables, taking cuttings and boxing up border plant seeds in the greenhouse and garden shed.

As the 1950's moved on, the ration books eventually left folks everyday lives, but food was still in short demand and turkeys were unheard of at Christmas.

Families enjoying a more peaceful world and society, began to find life after war in hobbies, pastimes and interests. Children's toys, model railways and Meccano, along with family games played together, and tropical fish keeping began to occupy folks lives.

The family car if a family was fortunate to own a vehicle, would enjoy a Sunday drive, if Church was not the order for Sunday mornings long with Sunday School for many Children. White socks worn by Children, and bright white shirts worn by men in suits was a regular scene at family gatherings and visits.

The railways across Blighty were now becoming more for tourism, with family days out, as they chugged through the Countryside to sea side resorts Brighton, Southend, Margate, Ramsgate, Weston Super Mere, Bournemouth, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth etc. A bowl of cockles, whelks, jellied ells, muscles or some winkles for Nan and Grand Dad to pick with a pin, was all part of the days activities down at the sea side.

From rain and showers, to sunny days, a walk along the promenade with a happeth (half penny) of chips, and lashings of salt and vinegar, was a joyous and memorable affair. Very often from the aroma of salt and vinegar in the air from the Fish and Chips, was replaced with the smells of Brown Ale and Stout, as Families passed by the sea front pubs.

As the decade moved on in the 1950's, the skirts got tighter and the heels got higher, with gramophones playing Chuck Berry, and Bill Haley blasting out rock around the clock, down at the local dance hall with jiving and laughter.

A Family Holidaying

"Brylcreem and barbers was a Friday affair, as Teddy Boys made ready for their evening date. Dancing and music a new age was dawning, and a weeks holiday at Butlins, was a great place for pulling.

Big canteens and hundreds of people, the smell of cooking, and the drone of talking. Plates and cutlery banging and clanging, as the kids played, and were ready for paddling. Ice creams and candy floss the order of the day, and making sand castles with the family, or a new friend made.

Sun glasses on and resting in a deck chair, kids were playing with the sound of laughter in the air. Mum with the local rag and a cup of tea, lighting a fag, all well and relaxed was she."

by Alastair Agutter

When the Cold War Dawned in the 1950's

In the 1950's the Cold War really took hold, our family lived in the Valley, at the bottom of Biggin Hill's Airport runway in Kent, England. And even as a baby, I distinctly remember the deafening sound of the Vulcan Bombers taking off, over our home and seeing their white and black undersides.

Many parts of the Country still had the old Gas Lamps in the 1950's, and I clearly remember the one at the bottom of our short drive, where the Gas Lamp stood in solitude in the small lane.

The main road near us ran through from Bromley to Sevenoaks, and I clearly remember my Father telling me once, that on a Sunday he could stand at the roadside all day and never see a car, or a shooting brake, as he called them. How Things have changed!

I remember also my Father telling me, that he only paid a £1,000 in the 1950's, for our family home, that sat on 4 acres of land. A thirteen bay window, semi-detached house, in Surbiton, Surrey, in those days would set you back £350 to £500.

Whilst Nuclear tests continued in earnest by Britain, France, USA and Russian in those days. Even with the Vulcan Bombers present, folk seemed to just get on with their lives and had time for each other, and always used those fundamental important words of kindness towards each other of "please, and thank you" and Children in those days, were always reminded, that manners never cost anything!

As the 1950's came to an end, and as a new age was dawning in technology, with "Sputnik" becoming world headline on the 4th of October 1957. As the first satellite, to ever go into space on a low orbit around the planet.

Folks thoughts of Hope, definately existed up and down the Country, and across communities.

In the 1950's also, fruit finally became in more plentiful supply in Blighty, as more orchards sprung up across the Country, especially in Kent, the garden of England, Sussex, Essex and Suffolk. I remember with great fondness, the grape vine at our home in Biggin Hill, Kent. And whenever I see a grapevine today growing in a greenhouse, or conservatory, it always reminds me of those times way back then!

Written by Alastair R Agutter
Last Modified and Updated: 12th August 2017
Alastair Agutter Author and Writer

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