Growing up in the 50's and 60's

What was it like to be a youngster in the 1950s? - Into the 50s

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1950's - Into the 50's

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I was born on the 8th. March 1948, less than four years after the end of WW2 in which my Father served in North Africa and Italy (a Desert Rat).
If you look at the photo of the Bungalow on the right, I came into the world behind the windows half way down the right hand side.
After a short while my elder sister Julia and myself shared the Bedroom on the front left where we had great fun abruptly opening the curtains just as the Postman walked past every morning!.

Opposite was a little shop owned by the Arlett's, who later that year became my Godparents, which was more the done thing in those days.

I can recall a few little snip bits of the 40's. I'm sure I remember learning to walk across the Sitting Room floor to huge applause from my Parents and also my Mother going around singing 'Love and Marriage', a big hit of that time.

But it's around the Coronation of 1952 that glimpses become clearer memories.
For the Big Day itself, we went the whole way and got a Television Set (See more in Children's Entertainment).
I recall the day very well because my parents had asked their Parents over and a few friends as well.
To make the day a real 'smash hit', I accidentally broke the Sitting Room window. I don't recall watching the actual ceremony atall, Julia and I would have been busy somewhere down the garden I have no doubt.

The following day saw a Grand Parade in Chipstead, just down the road and lo and behold, the Television Camera's were there.
We sat with great humbleness watching ourselves that evening! In fact, strangely by chance, it appeared on 'All our Yesterdays' some 25 years later - but even Video Recorders hadn't been invented then!

Teddy Bear Soap advert 1950'sWe had a long garden set out in true post war fashion; out the back into a neatly set out lawn with flowerbeds, then a hedge with the Vegetable Garden down the bottom.
We even had a few Chickens as well and I recall once every couple of weeks daring myself to look round the Garage door at a poor thing suspended upside down.

Every Thursday was a day out to Tonbridge to visit my Grandparents on both sides. Grandpa Amas (Mum's dad) would pick us up in his Austin and drive us down there. I still remember the smell of Leather, Wood and Petrol to this day.

It would always be the same. First call would be 'The Rose and Crown' for Coffee. The place was always packed and the thing which stands out in my mind is how many people smoked. It was like a Fog!
After that, it was off to the Recreation Grounds beside the River Medway to play on the swings.
If I was lucky, Grandpa would then stop at the Jubilee Sidings on the way to his house for Lunch to watch 'The Golden Arrow' Pullman train with it's proud Britannia or Atlantic Class Locomotive gleaming green at the head on it's way to Folkestone Harbour.

In 1954 when my brother Nigel was born, the Bungalow became a wee bit small and I actually moved in with my neighbour 'Aunty Lucy'. Not my real Aunt, she was getting on and had been a Nurse at The Royal Free Hospital during WW1.
In fact, when the family moved to a new house in Sevenoaks a couple of years later, I stayed with my Aunt for half the week.
She had terrible Arthritis which worsened and for some years as a teenager I would do a lot of the cooking there!

It seems like ancient history some things. Twice a week the Grocery Van would arrive the morning after you'd phoned the order over (via the Operator til about 1953). Then the Fish Monger would turn up on Friday mornings.
The Vegetables came from Mr. Francis who ran a Green Grocery business not far away. I went to School with his son Colin, lost contact in about 1972 and now see him at every Kent Cricket Home Game !

Then the memories bounce back like yesterday which I shall go into more detail in the other pages.
Hopefully this will give you some idea of how we lived and how I grew up



Spangles Sweets advert early 1950's

Richard Cannon with dog Rufus c.1951
About 1950. Outside the back of our house in Riverhead, near Sevenoaks with Rufus. Below; As it is today. You can see the indentation of the path I was on at the left. (Printed by kind permission of present owner)

Dressing up on Coronation Day
Coronation Day 1952

Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s

50's & 60's In the Blog

1960's Year by Year

Rationing in 1948
Bacon and Ham: 2 oz. per person a fortnight
Cheese: ½ oz. a week
Butter/margarine: 7 oz. a week
Cooking fats: 2 oz. a week
Meat: 1s. worth a week
Sugar: 8 oz. a week
Tea: 2oz. a week
Chocolates and sweets: 4oz.a week
Eggs: No fixed ration: 1 egg for each ration book when available
Milk: 3 pints a week
Preserves: 4oz. a week

Good heart basic British food

The fast food of the 50's - TINS!