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Growing up in the 50''s and 60's

What it was like starting work in the 1960s

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Starting to work in the 1960's

From doing a Chemist Boy run to Carnaby Street

The difference's between working in the 1960's and today are quite striking, especially for younger people and a fine example of this was my first ever part-time jon when I was 12 in 1960.

Most boy's would have a paper round, but the thought of getting up at 5am then going to School was not exactly an exciting prospect for me personally.

I was lucky enough to get the job as 'Chemist Boy'. Now the job description would be totally unacceptable.
Remember I was 12. Three evenings a week after School, I would have to deliver Patient's Prescriptions to their houses by Bicycle.
I would arrive at the Chemist's around 4.45pm and Mr. Day-Lewis would have five, maybe up to seven Tablet / Medicine packets for me to deliver anywhere up to a radius of 4 miles or so.
Because there may another urgent one before he went home, he would give me the Chemist Shop Door Key, I would do the deliveries finishing at around 6 - 6.30pm, go back, lock the shop and leave the key behind the dustbin!

Who would dream of that now, but day's of old so to speak!

It was, as is now, quite common at around 15'ish to get a Saturday job and at 15 I got one at the newly opened Tesco's in Sevenoaks High Street. It was just about size enough to swing a cat and the theory 'stack'em high, sell'm cheap' was abundant.
I loved it and even got to serving on the Meat / Cheese counter when Jock was not there (usually because he'd almost cut his hand off - again!).
I forget how much I earnt exactly, it was 1964, about 75p sounds about right!

My aim was to get into Advertising and I achieved this after leaving College.
I stayed in this trade for 7 years and worked in some very 'in' places like the Strand, Trafalgar Square, Park Lane and Soho Square.
London was a buzz and later, playing in a Group', I'd be spending my money in Carnaby Street on scarlet flairs with white hipster belt, flower shirts and white shoes. My Dad even gave me his old Army Dinner Jacket and I resembled a poor copy of John Lennon for a while (until I got beaten up!!).

I was intrigued with WW2 escape stories and prided myself on hand forging a monthly season ticket and getting away with it for three month's. I didn't get caught, just bottled out!

I used to travel up daily from Sevenoaks with my Dad who had great fun, when going slowly on the train through London Bridge Station non-stop, rolling up his Daily Telegraph and knocking business mens bowler hats off. This was after reading the paper upside down just to see the reaction of others.

In 1966 I recall very well an arguement with my Mother which ended in me shouting "When I'm earning £10 a week, I'm leaving home"!

Back to Advertising though. I worked on campaigns such as BEA (now British Airways) Silver Wing Holidays, Harveys Sherry, Rimmel Cosmetics etc. The job I did was to collate the ads from the Copywriters, Graphic Artists, Typographers, Account Executives in time for the Newspaper deadlines.
This meant many late evenings being spent in Fleet Street, getting there on a Client given folding Bicycle, which finally got stolen leaning up against the Post Office Tower!

I got to know London very well during those years, but what stands out is the atmosphere of working there. It was free and easy, everything was in technicolor, the sounds, the music and the jingling bells of the Ari Krishna boys weaving their way in and out of shoppers in Regent Street - at least they're still unchanged!

They were days where you worked where you wanted to work, jobs in Advertising were plentiful and money seemed to be growing on the flowers in my head - or so it seemed at the time!

However, by the end of the decade, things could be said to be getting out of control. Everyone wanted more than they had and this led to political unrest.
The Unions felt that Government was going further away from the tradition, so it wasn't long before huge unrest came about in the early 70's with changes of Prime Ministers and the three day week.


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