My Memories of the 50s

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A wooden kitchen rack for drying clothes in the kitchen, followed by an electric Flatley dryer which was a metal cabinet with about five wooden bars inside where the clothes were hung.

Metal flat irons which were heated on the fire.

Curling tongs (metal) which were heated in the fire to curl my sisters long hair. My older sisters mixing sugar and water in a plastic spray to use as hairspray. Dipping their net under skirts in sugar and water to make their outer skirt stand out. Going to the hairdressers with my mother where they had separate cubicles.

The rag and bone man coming round with his horse and cart to collect old clothes in return for a goldfish or wooden pegs.

Taking glass pop bottles back to the shop for a few pennies each.

A Penny Tray at the sweet shop on the way back from school, an assortment of lollipops, toffee chews and different sweets all for a penny each. Going to school on a tram.

Brown paper carrier bags with string for handles.

Growing fruit and vegetables on the allotment (organic food was cheap then). Plant cuttings from neighbour’s gardens, not Garden Centres which I don’t think existed then.

All the food shopping being done in different shops, ie butchers, bakers, grocers. Tub butter from the local grocers and the invention of Mother’s Pride sliced bread. Corner shops opening from 12.00 - 2.00 on a Sunday and then for 2 hours in an evening. Food kept in a walk in Pantry off the kitchen. Green Shield Stamps to collect. The only ‘take-away’ for food was the Fish and Chip shop.

Dogs and cats ate scraps from the table or Butcher’s meat.

A tin bath used once a week, usually on a Sunday night. Filled with buckets of water heated on the top of the gas oven. One person after another used it without the water being changed.

My dad buying leather and repair our shoes in the cellar on a metal anvil and then putting Segs, made of metal, in the heels to make the leather last longer.

Very few people having a car or telephone. When house phones became more popular it was often with a shared line. If you lifted the receiver and someone was talking, you put it down again and tried later. Red telephone boxes with Button A and B.

Queuing at the Doctors - no appointment system. ‘Snowfire’ put on your toes for chilblains.

Cutting up squares on newspaper for toilet paper, followed by shiny Izal toilet paper on a roll.

Going for a walk on Sunday afternoon in your best clothes. Having new clothes at Whitsuntide and going to the park to listen to the band.

Going to the Rag and Tag market in town (Sheffield) on a Saturday morning where most things were sold. The big weighing scales in the market where you could get weighed for a few coppers.

Putting your socks and knickers under the pillow to warm for the following morning. Icy bedrooms with no heating, cold lino floor covering and a bedside rug. Houses in general did not have central heating or fitted carpets.

Real Christmas trees with homemade decorations, sugar pigs and mice and chocolate novelties. Making paper chain garlands to put across the ceiling.

Doing PE at school in navy blue knickers; wearing plimsoles, no one had trainers then. Dancing round the May Pole at school on May Day. Being shown how to wash different materials in Domestic Science at school.

Weekly comics and a favourite annual at Christmas (Bunty).

Only having gifts at Birthdays and Christmas. Making figures out of Plaster of Paris in rubber moulds and then painting them. Going fishing at Rivelin with a jam-jar and a net. Being able to walk anywhere and playing out in the street until it was almost dark.

Dad making a sledge out of old wood and putting metal runners on it.

Rubbish being burnt on a coal fire, eg paper and potato peelings. The fire also heated the water.

Going to the East Coast for a week in summer and having to walk across the campsite for the toilet and to wash.

My dad having to use a metal starting handle when the car wouldn’t start.

Not being bored!!