1950s Childhood: Growing up in post-war Britain (Shire Library)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The generation who grew up in Britain immediately after the Second World War are popularly called 'The Baby Boomers'. As children, they experienced life in Britain from wartime austerity to the relative affluence of the late 1950s. Uniquely healthier and wealthier than previous generations, this first welfare state generation received free orange juice, milk and cod liver oil to safeguard their health. However, their overall diet was restricted until rationing fully ended in 1954 – and the permissive society had yet to arrive. Janet and John Shepherd explore how the Baby Boomers grew up through the change from post-war restrictions to a new consumer society, enjoying increased choice in the shops, while at home, pirate Radio Luxembourg and flickering black and white television opened up new vistas.
previously there had been only macaroni. Indian and Chinese food grew in popularity, with ‘chicken chop-suey and chips’ appearing on the menu of every Butlin’s holiday camp by the end of the decade. To compete with the new supermarkets, other firms began to diversify. Milkmen employed by the major rival dairies United and Express now carried bread, butter, cheese and vegetables for home delivery, using modern motorised floats instead of horses. In ‘The Large Cool Store’ (1961), inspired by the
Best of the 1950s Comic. Orion Books, 2007. Woodberry Down Memories Group. Woodberry Down Memories: The History of an LCC Housing Estate. ILEA, 1989. Worth, Jennifer. Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s. Phoenix, 2012. Young, Michael, and Willmott, Peter. Family and Kinship in East London. Penguin Books, 1980. PLACES TO VISIT Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading RG8 9NR. Telephone: 0118 984 3040. Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/basildon-park (1950s’ kitchen.)
Rod Stewart and Elton John, the politicians Edwina Currie, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the actress Maureen Lipman, the journalists Jon Snow, Melanie Phillips and Bel Mooney, and many other household names. This book explores the lives of this generation of children, who constituted a massive rise in the United Kingdom population, and who grew up during some of the most interesting years in post-war Britain – the 1950s. It examines their health, homes, schooling, consumer habits and leisure
only the top 3–4 per cent went on to university. Smartly dressed science sixth-formers at Manchester Grammar School, 1956. The single-sex Highbury Grammar School put on a production of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara in 1955, where the female roles were played by boys. Many grammar schools were single-sex. Boys and girls from neighbouring schools were often actively discouraged from meeting. At school dances, always ballroom and strictly monitored by staff, the opposite sex might be
Council Estate, Hackney – ‘a bright new building incorporating all the latest ideas in social medicine’ – which opened in a blaze of national publicity in 1952. In addition to adult care, the centre specialised in children’s health, offering ante-natal services, child welfare, school and dental health, all under one roof. Before long, costs proved far higher than had been anticipated, and the unprecedented demand for NHS treatment prohibited the creation of any more purpose-built centres. Charges