(Please switch off this music if not required or if you come to another audio or video -----or both sounds will be playing at same time :)))
A quick few words please, before we get to the Fabulous 50s."Memories Never Die" is a small , personalised Site that does not claim to do what so many of those "retro-sites" (they even use modern jargon----blimey:)) claim to do : such as being a "reference library" for everything to do with a particular year or decade. Such claims merely, in my view, try to mask superficial sites that ----whether in 2 pages or 22,000 pages, cannot "deliver". In this day and age, if we want to find out details of anything, from no matter what era, we simply use Google, Wikipedia and the hundreds of websites that give every detail of the subject for which we are searching.
This little website just jots down a few personal "oldies" memories that try to provide a "flavour" of 3 decades, from childhood, through teenage years to early adult----and if they "strike a chord" with even a few viewers, then that will be pleasing.
Sorry to have "eaten" into what was supposed to be the 1950s Page. Let's correct that now and go back about 60 years.
Some folk say they remember things from their cot or playpen. Not me. For someone who loves memories, I have hardly any before the age when I started Primary School, aged 5. Of course, I have the usual pre-school memories that we all have: parents and close relatives ; some Xmases ( when I came downstairs to a pillow-case filled with shiny gift paper) ; some early toys, especially my beloved bright red tricycle , my swing which my Dad built for me in the garden (I also remember a teddy bear which I called "Teddy" ---originality was going to be one of my strong points in life :))))) .
More on toys' nostalgia later on this page ............ .....
But at the age of 4, I remember very clearly walking with my Mum to a house where the owners had a thing called a television. I have to say that I recall absoulutely no scenes about the house, the people, the TV or the event we had gone to see........the Coronation (so no reference library info here from me about Westminster Abbey, Richard Dimbleby, or even what a telly looked like in 1953:). But the funny thing is : I can picture , very clearly, parts of the route my Mum and I took that day, holding her hand as usual, and looking down at the sandals that must have been worn by most children of that time.
As for the rest of my pre-school memories, I believe that I must have been a bit like Commander Data in those episodes when something goes wrong with his memory circuits. And, if I don't stick with that story, it means that the title of this website isn't true :))). Seriously, my early memories never died...........I honestly don't have very many.
"Real" memories start flooding in about the time I started Primary School in 1955. And when I remember the radio (the wirelesss as it is known in oldies' circles:))
It was the main entertainment in every British home through the golden age of first half of the 1950s : I remember so many programmes : everything from "Listen With Mother", to Two-Way Family Favourites" to "Beyond Our Ken" ( the answer lies in the soil..........). It is still, for most folk, the core of nostalgia regarding the 1950s.
It was, above all, my first introduction to the world of music , more of that later (see Music Page).
First day at school: Mum was anxious, I was just "lost". First real interaction with other children : the first memories that the world is made up of all sorts of people...........something I don't think had ever occurred to me before then, as I lay cocooned in the new semi-detatched council house in which I had been born and was to spend the next 18 years of my life, in the same road, in the same love and care of my parents. The new knowledge of different sorts of people at that particular school helped me more than anything to prepare myself for "looking after " myself physically and mentally , then and in later life; and gave me insights I might never have otherwise had. It was a poor school, built in Victorian times, poor standard of education, generally poor kids from poor backgrounds (the "nit lady" must have decided to move house so as to be closer to my school:), discipline was rigid ( the headmaster roamed the corridors and classrooms with a cane hidden up the sleeve of his jacket----and we all felt its sting on bruised hands whether for talking, eating a sweet or perhaps giving a "funny" glance. Pupils generally spent their whole school-life there from age 5 to 15 (except 2 or 3 who escaped via the 11+ exam each year, out of a class of 40 or more) . I remember , every Wednesday, age 10, the third of my class who could read and write had to spend the whole day sitting with a pupil from among the other two-thirds......teaching them on a "one-to-one" basis". But for all the Dickensian pictures I paint here, for all that, I have very happy memories of the place. I felt so at the time; but even more so with hindsight. I began a lifelong love affair with the thirst for knowledge, with books (oh, how I recall reading "Treasure Island " for the first time, at that school; and the exploits of heros like Captain Scott and Edmund Hillary in faraway places; and the thrills of The Famous Five as they led their idyllic middle-class lives at boarding schools , before setting off on their adventures in summer, armed with "Cook's" packed lunches. And , as well as books, I'll never forget the comics :)) : The Dandy, Beano, The Eagle, Beezer, Topper, Radio Fun, Knockout, Victor ; and many little "books" of adventure stories that cost 10d : anyone remember them ?
Oh I loved football, cricket, rounders ( we played a lot of that), and all the sporting and playground fun. But I think I always regarded them as "outside-school" pastimes. School remained predominantly a place of learning for me, not just from books but also from people and experiences.
Tapioca is NOT "nostalgia" as we know it, Jim !!
Memories Never Die ---aaaaaaaaaggghhhhh :))
But I suppose everything : from schooldays to holidays to toys was overshadowed in 1956 by the new item of furniture sitting on a table in our living room for the first time :
TELEVISION had arrived to coincide with the birth of the wonderful ATV in The Midlands from the Lichfield Transmitter
And TV programmes added to the thirst for knowledge and adventure. There's enough written about the telly on the internet. I'll just say that :
How did that nice Patricia Driscoll who was presenting "Picture Book" one week suddenly become Maid Marion to Richard Greene's "Robin Hood" the next week ??????? :))))))))
But the advent of TV never took away the need for books and comics :
And so the 1950s meandered gently along. Discipline , usually kindly but firm ( with the exception of MY school----wouldn't you know it?:), was the main bulwark which kept society in that "gentler" mode. I remember seeing Teddy Boys but they were a "fashion statement" and not hooligans as the older generation often liked to portray them at least as I knew in my little part of the world, aged 10.
I got interested in cinema (more on a later page). But TV still ruled. And I continued to like school and learning as much as playing with my friends (usually as cowboys in the outfits that outsold all other boys gifts at Xmas----together with gunbelt, six-shooters that fired "caps"); and marbles, football, building makeshift "huts " in the garden, and creating the forerunners of "go-karts" from old boxes and pram wheels.
No childhood memories could ever exist without the ones about holidays, seaside, funfairs, picnics, days out, playing cricket with parents/grandparents, train journeys...............summer. Why do summers of years gone-by have more memories that never die, compared to other seasons ?
My own childhood is, like yours, full of summer holiday memories that never die. My own holidays were a little different to most :
I spent the summer in the same place every year , from age 1 to about age 15/16 (when I suppose we all start to wander away from our parents' destinations and start going on our own holidays). My mother was Scottish, and my Scots' grandparents owned a lovely farm in a lovely county : Perthshire. During Primary School years, I was taken out of school 2 weeks before end of term.......for the trip to Scotland. It meant I was there for about 9 weeks (and we went for a month at Xmas sometimes). It was bliss. No-one could have fonder memories of summer holidays, grandparents, trips to seaside, taking time out to tour one of the most beautiful countries in Europe ; and , most of all, for any child : life on a farm ........one of the most exciting places to stay. I have too many memories-----memories that never die---- to recount here. I can still "feel" all those long hot summers, hay-making time, collecting the eggs by the age I was 6 or 7, milking the only farm dairy cow by age 10, driving the tractor by age 12 (no Health&Safety in those days), shearing sheep by 14. Grouse shooting up on the moors that formed a non-agricultural part of the farm. Deer-stalking. The farm was mixed: from fields of corn to 400 sheep, from potatoes to a herd of Aberdeen Angus ( and different crops/animals from time to time). And those wonderful fields of hay-----I can still smell the freshly cut hay mixed with the diesel of a tractor : wonderful. The stuff that nostalgia is made of.
My Dad could obviously only have 2 weeks from work; so he and my Mum left me ( as I begged so sweetly:))) in the care of my grandparents, and aunt and uncle who managed the farm. Even at the age of 8 I was able to be sent back home alone on the train 6 weeks after my parents , my name-tag on my wrist: and it was so exciting. I have always loved trains, still do-----and I have since been lucky enough to travel on trains in much of Europe and in 3 other continents. But those journeys direct from Perthshire to The Midlands in the late 1950s and early 1960s remain the memories that stay at the top my list. Why is this site called "Memories Never Die" ??:))))
And I never forget that I am half-Scot and that it is a place deep in my heart : not just a Perthshire farm, but most parts: from the Isles to Oban to Royal Deeside to St Andrews (memories of picnics in the sand dunes there ) to one of the best capitals in Europe : Edinburgh.
So every year I went from :
Nearer home, the whole family spent many "days-out" for picnics, or to visit country houses or go to funfairs or just to enjoy the countryside-----it was never far from our industrial connurbation. Many hours on Cannock Chase, Milford Common : always with the picnic basket and the cricket "set". Drayton Manor Park was always popular : in those days it was a large field which cars drove on to picnic and play, an area about a quarter of a mile away of about 5 or 6 funfair "rides"------the last time I went there a few years ago, it was like Disneyworld !!! I was saddened. The same is true of Alton Towers , which was known primarily in my time as a place of gardens.It's a good job that memories never die ; otherwise I would only know the sprawling tourist traps that are very different to "my" Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park.
Though we lived just about as far from the sea as it's possible to get, we spent many Sundays after my Dad learned to drive in the mid 1950s----getting up early, picking up my Gran and grandad on the way-----and heading off to a seaside village that holds more of those memories that never die. I spent many , many days there during my childhood.
It was called Fairbourne, across the estuary from Barmouth, in Merionethshire. It had a miniature railway, very few people and a wonderful beach. Would someone please write in and tell me that it hasn't been ruined .........please !!
Life back in the , more often in winter, fun centred around games----why did we all have what was known as a "Compendiun Set" for Xmas ? To keep us amused and "out of our parents' hair" the rest of the year ? It didn't really work on that basis, as we were always asking Mum or Dad to have a game . Each "compendium" usually consisted of "snakes and ladders", ludo , tiddlywinks, draughts: remember trying to get those annoying buttons into the tiddlywink "cup" ??? Impossible ........
Another one of the "standard items" that every child had in their toy box : a paintbox, with little brushes---filled with tiny "blobs" of different-coloured paints (each the size of a postage stamp, in separate "compartments)----once the red and green and blue was gone , we were left with weird names we'd never heard or colours we didn't much like ( purple, black, white, pink, etc). I think those paint-makers knew what they were doing------how many of those "toys" were thrown away and replaced long before they had been half-used ?
And do you remember the brushes in a jam jar of foul-looking liquid that was often knocked over onto the floor:))) ??
I wonder if anyone remembers a game called "Escalado" ( fixed to the dining table and you turned a handle to make a sheet of cheap linen "wobble" in order to try and get tin horses to race down the sheet of "linen" ?? A real hidden item of nostalgia there......
Another activity which damaged the dining table was "ping-pong"------those brackets that fastened the net on either side of the table didn't arf leave some nasty marks (and loss of pocket money:))))
Another favourite was a "Magic Set": a whole box of magic tricks that were so tricky that none of them worked:)))))
I remember very clearly a plastic carnation that was pinned to my jumper, and a wire ran down inside my shirt sleeve to a little "squeezy" bag of water in my pocket : I'd invite Mum or Dad and anybody in the vicinity to smell the pretty flower, then , when their noses were touching it, I'd squeeze the bag in my pocket and they'd get squirted with water.
They'd say "oh......I wasn't expecting that !!!!" I thought adults were a bit dense, especially my beloved Grandad, who kept smelling the flower as often as I asked him to-----and he always forgot that he'd be squirted with water:))))
BTW, he was a very special person in my young life. I was lucky enough to know all my grandparents very well (aren't grandparents a wonderful invention?), but my Dad's Dad lived near us, I saw him and my Gran nearly every day------and , for someone who was 5ft 7", he still remains a giant in my hundreds of memories of him. He had run away from home, age 15, become a boy soldier, served in India 1904-10, South Africa 1910-12; and then served in the The Great War as a frontline soldier in the hell of the trenches from August 1914 until marching into Germany in 1919. He would not talk of it, but he wore medals (and his"Old Contemptibles" badge ) with pride on Remembrance Day and certain other times. Memories Never Die...........
But my favourite grandparent died when I was 17, the first of my grandparents to die----I miss him still. He may remind us that the oldest veterans we saw on TV in the 1960s , walking down Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday were survivors of that most awful of wars; now there are none; and the older veterans are in their 80s from another awful conflict : the Second World War ! I hope we will always remember them all, from all eras.
Back to the nostalgia of toys again : and more "standards" such as Dinky Toys, tin soldiers ( the new plastic ones were never so good, but at least their heads didn't break off :)), marbles, "jacks." Girls always seemed to be drawing lines on the footpath and playing hopscotch ( I never really got the hang of that:). Fishing in the canal with a net for sticlebacks and newts; and blackberry-picking probably don't count as games, but I seemed to do a lot of both.
A few reminders :
Please let me know of any other girls' toys which could be shown please----I promise I tried to find some suitable pics....but Dolls Houses looked like real houses; and even most of the dolls didn't look "right". Please , ladies : what pictures should I be adding here ?? :)))
BUT children grow and, as I reached age 10/11, my toys and stamp collection were giving way, by the end of the 1950s to new hobbies.
This is especially true of that particular period because the decade ended on a new "adventurous" note (pun intended :to introduce the subject of MUSIC). More on another page.....but it became one of the biggest passions of my life; and it started at the very end of the decade as I passed my 11+ and was presented with a Dansette. My first records were by Adam Faith, Billy Fury, Cliff and The Shads, the wonderful Roy Orbison and another young American from the same Sun Record "stable" as The Big "O", starting out on the road to bringing Rock n Roll and a new era which was to follow in the 1960s :
And , as this is the decade of Rock 'n Roll, ............a few more :
And a few items that just seemed to cry out for inclusion in this 1950s' page before we move on to the next decade:
1. EVOCATIVE STREET SCENE ( pinched from a good website that I have now "lost" ; if anyone knows it, please get in touch with me; and if the owners do not want it shown here......it won't be). I think it's a smashing little pic that sums up the phrase "memories never die" as far as the 1950s are concerned :
2. AND , with the next picture : don't tell me you didn't all say : "just one more , Mum----oh go on......" ?
3. PRICES at The Savoy Grill :
4. MEMORABLE TV NOSTALGIA : I'd like this to be one of the wonderful BBC serials, or a classic Western like "Maverick"; or even the Potter's Wheel :))). But it has to be this one ( see pics on the left below) , probably seen by everyone in the world. But just to remind us of homegrown TV, I've added a couple of other pictures on right-hand side for British Silversurfers: of a famous blood-donor :)))
5. DENTAL CARE : Penny Chews still take some beating :)))
May I suggest you view the great www.aquarterof.com to see hundreds of sweets like this : memories never die while such sites exist.
6. The defeat of a formidable foe by remarkable men (in memory of the late Tenzing Norgay & Sir Edmund Hillary):
7. AND FINALLY ---- as the words of the song say : "I would have liked to have known you, but I was just a kid". A true legend : MARILYN MONROE 1926-1962 R.I.P.
VIEWERS' PICTURE OF THE MONTH :
ANY VIEWER who writes in to suggest a "suitable" picture for inclusion on this 1950s' Page : I will select one request at random ,do my best to find the best version I can; and I will include it here as "Viewers' Pic Of The Month" (and provide their name, unless they ask me not to). At the beginning of the next month, I will delete the previous month's requests ( and the picture shown in this section) .......and choose another one from the new month's requests. Please write in for a personal reminder of something which can be shown here for YOU and all of us ......to remind us that : MEMORIES NEVER DIE !!!!
Now we move on to the 1960s : please click for that decade on our Introduction Page. Thanks for viewing and hope you enjoyed the tiny tour of the gentle 1950s........ Evenin' All