Growing up in the 50's and 60's

Remembering how we kept in touch with each other

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1950's - Communication

Letters and what we'd now call a Landline


No internet with online shopping and knowledge, no text messaging, no skype, how did we manage to talk to friends and family in the 1950's?

Postcard to Grandma 1950's
A card from me to Grandmother Cannon 1954 (Aged 6)

The answer is we wrote letters and how to was pretty much drilled into you at School where spelling, writing upright crossing your 't's and dotting your 'i's' was paramount.

This of course is probably one of the reasons that more senior people nowadays spell better (although I'm always using spell check).

You would think nothing of sitting down with your fountain pen and writing to Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle or Aunt for their birthday present. If you didn't, well betide you!

People knew how to write and letters home during WW2 were essential to keeping in touch, so this carried on.

No instant messaging, twitter or skype to keep people up to date on your holiday or day out, then it was a postcard and I have hundreds of family postcards going back to pre WW1! When on holiday it was a duty to visit the Seaside Shop, all of which smelt of Newspaper and the Sea, and buy the set number of cards to cover all the family.
The hardest part was saying something different in every one, there was no copying and pasting, so at least one afternoon on your holiday (a rainy one) would be sacrified for dutiful purposes.

There was the Telegram of course, but only used by 'the common man' in an hour of need or getting a message to someone on the same day.

One thing which hasn't changed a lot, the Postman, the only real differences are that back then a Postman would do the Round he was on for the whole of his Career it seemed so this made for first name terms and a tot of something just before Christmas.
The cry of 'Post' as he walked up the front pathway remains with me to this day and I'm glad to say there are still some rural Communities which are still spoilt by this service.

So that was it, Telephone and Post, the main communications which kept friends and family together.

They were good times which I recall with great pleasure (as I sit here writing on my laptop and the iPhone right beside it!

The Telephone

I can't remember not having atelephone in the house, but I do remember that to make any call you had to go through the Operator at the local Exchange.

Most phone numbers were just 3 digits, so you'd pick up the phone, wait for the Operator to say "Good morning, number please" and reply with whatever, such as Tonbridge 387.

At first the phones were of Bakelite, very heavy but thankfully very loud, you'd not miss a call unless you lived in an enormous house.
These were replaced with Plastic phones, but one thing for years seem to remain common place - the cord which after time became coiled up. This led to the inevitable answering of the call and pulling the telephone of the table.

I couldn't say the percentage of the population who had phones back then, but certainly in the mid fifties, not everyone did.

I often harp back to the TV Show 'Dad's Army', although set in WW2, much obviously remained the same for quite a few years after.


Selsey Bill West Beach (the reverse pictured in main content - click for full size)

A typical Writing Desk - which I acquired only last year !

Heavy, noisy but reliable, the Bakelite Telephone - why 999, it took so long to dial!


Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s

50's & 60's In the Blog

1960's Year by Year