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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not so Good Things From 1950

A land of bus conductors, district nurses and rag-and-bone men is the image of life in the 1950s, to which many want to return, suggests a survey. Was post-war Britain really all good?
We might enjoy cheap flights, e-mail and plasma televisions, but a report by Somerfield says one in four people want to return to the decade of the Suez War and the Coronation.

Bobbies on the beat (80%), district nurses (55%), bus conductors (41%) and rag-and-bone men (20%) were among the features of life those surveyed most wanted to revive or expand.

This has been presented by some dewy-eyed newspapers as evidence that life 50 years ago was better than now. A time of decency and strong community ties, yes, but what aspects of that life were not so appealing?

1. Post-war austerity was characterised by outside lavatories, central heating was rare and many houses were without televisions or running water.

The education system was lauded
2. Racial discrimination was widespread, with signs saying "No blacks, no dogs, no Irish" commonplace. Tensions boiled over with the Notting Hill riots in 1958.

3. Food rations until 1954. Fruit was a luxury, chicken or sweets a rarity. Queues outside butchers lined the streets. Petrol was rationed in 1956-57.

4. Smog, or peasoupers, were thick and yellow, made worse by coal fires. Some have described the fog as a "yellow wall" outside the front door. Parents gave children scarves to wear over their noses and mouths and street lamps were still gas.

5. Britain had to come to terms with being humiliated in the Suez War and its influence on world events being greatly diminished.

6. Bomb sites littered British streets, while air raid shelters, unexploded bombs, gas masks and seaside defences provided a reminder of the horror that had gone before.

Bombed buildings became playgrounds
7. The Cold War intensified throughout the 50s, with tensions illustrated by the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the McCarthy witch hunts in the US.

8. Sporting humiliation arrived when England's football team lost 6-3 to Hungary at Wembley, the first ever defeat to a non-British team at home.

9. Smoking prevalence among UK men aged 35 to 59 was 80% in 1950, and half of deaths of middle-aged men were caused by tobacco.

10. Sexual expression was frowned upon and even criminalised.


Posted by Ajay :: 9:48 AM :: 0 comments

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