Growing up in the 50's and 60's
A trip to the shops in the 1950's was more social and you usually walked to them
1950's - Going Shopping
Going to the Shops in the 1950's was an event
Strangely, I always liked going to the Shops. There were two types of going; a walk down to the Village Shops or a bus ride to town for bigger thing's like clothes etc.
Our situation was that most our things came by Van to the House. We think online shopping is new? Well, it isn't - then it was online, but on the telephone line.
Saying that, another similarity is that nowadays we ask "Do you have an email address?". Then you'd ask "Are you on the Phone?"
But there were things you would have to pop out for and I can even remember doing errands of walking down to the Village with the Ration Book (things we wished we had kept!).
Going to 'the big shops' in Sevenoaks (about 4 miles) was a really good treat because this meant a bus ride! See Transport.
The town centre then was pretty much the same set up as it is today. The only exception in Sevenoaks being the very large Department Stores and there were no Supermarkets!
One lasting memory was going into the Coffee Shop. The smell brought a whole new aroma and it's maybe the reason I only drink Coffee and not Tea.
London of course had the huge Stores and that was usually the Christmas trip and if I was lucky, the summer one as well.
On Thursdays we'd go to Tonbridge to visit my Grandparents and they had a Store which had those money tubes. The Cashier Sales Assistant would place your cash in a little steel tube 'thingy' which was attached to a complex arrangement of wires going around the Store, through the ceilings and overhead, at great speed as well.
Sevenoaks had a Timothy Whites and Boots (big competition), a Woolworth where you could buy cheap cover versions of records.
Another 'smell' which lingers on is that of the Cold Meat Shops. The combination of Ham, Tongue and Corned Beef all neatly laid out on the Counter with the swooshing noise manual cutter behind.which made your teeth go on edge with fear of the Chap taking off a finger!
The thing about very young kids today saying, after watching some old 50's film', "was it all in black and white then?", couldn't be further from the truth. I remember it in full technicolor. Again, I think an effect of post-war times wanting to be 'new' and 'escape' was rife wherever you looked. Colour was 'in', especially in the women's clothes where what they were wearing then became the flower patterns for 1960's wallpapers!
Needless to say, everyone had a Milkman then, it was part of the system and institution.
In Chipstead, a little Village where I went to School then had a Hardware Shop, a Butcher's, a Post Office and two Sweet /Cigarette Shops. Now it has nothing, just two Pubs (and even then there were three!).
Shops and their Keepers were part of the Community as was the Station Master of a Railway Station and the Postman. Everyone knew each other and everyone would say Hello as they past each other by.
Shops were then really a Trade and the people in them were often there the whole of their working life's - a far cry from today's 'get whoever you can at six quid an hour' !
Growing up in
50s and 60s
1960's Year by Year
More from the 50s / 60s
Once a Village Post Office, now another residence