Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Lets Take A Look At The 1950s

From a purely personal prospective the 1950s was an exciting time. But then, I was 9 years of age at the start of the decade, and 19 years of age when it came to a close. At the start of the decade there was a great optimism about the future, World War II had ended five years earlier
and life in Britain was getting back to normal. Looking back, it seems to me, it was a decade that saw the end of an era, when life in Britain changed forever. Up to 1960 everyday life seemed to be lived at a more gentle pace. Particularly, in rural areas, life seemed to have a proper order, which everyone recognised. People had respect for each other and a community spirit prevailed that made people feel they had a sense of belonging, giving them a sense of worth and security.
I remember when I was around nine or ten years of age my whole family, parents, uncle and aunt, grandfather and myself, going for a walk 'round the village' on a summers Sunday evening.
There was the usual viewing of peoples gardens, stopping to chat to various other people and the best bit of all calling at the local pub, sitting outside with beer and stout for the 'grown ups' and a bottle of pop and a packet of crisps for me. Can you imagine that today?
With this being Bank Holiday weekend it started me thinking about Bank Holiday's back then. There was always a huge fete on the local football field, a produce tent for locals to compete to see who could grow the best vegetables, bearing in mind virtually everyone had a vegetable garden in those days, and a fancy dress competition, which paraded through the village streets before arriving at the show for the judging.
As I recall there was no crime as such, just a few minor altercations, which were usually settled by a clip round the ear from the local police sergeants leather gloves.
By the end of the decade the pace of life had quickened. People were more prosperous, neighbourhoods began to fragment as people began to leave their cottages for better housing on the council estates. It was a time when people began to buy their own homes, own their own cars and install televisions and other electrical appliances. Most things could now be bought on credit, a practice hitherto frowned upon. As people moved towards a more materialistic life style they cared less about community involvement and began leading more secular lives. Envy and jealousy gave rise to a new phrase "keeping up with the Jone's." It was the start of life as we know it today.
But what of the wider world? The emergence of a strengthening American economy began to have an influence on the British way of life. By the end of the decade the British pop charts were completely dominated by American 'rock and roll' which in turn gave rise to coffee bars, juke boxes and teddy boys.

The above picture - Top Row (L to R): The Korean war, I love Lucy, popular TV show and Ivy Mike the atomic bomb.Centre Row (L to R): Eisenhower bids for presidency, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Rosa Parks (stood against segregation).Bottom Row (L to R): Suez War, Sputnik (first satellite), Fidel Castro,

In international matters, 1950 saw the start of the Korean War that lasted 3 years. America ended its occupation of Japan in 1951, democratic elections followed. The Suez Crisis, generally regarded as the collapse of the British Empire, in 1956. The European Common Market was established with the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The overthrow of Fulgencio Batista by Fidel Castro in 1959 resulted in the first communist government, not only in Cuba, but in whole western hemisphere. There was continued 'Cold War' friction between the two super-powers America and the Soviet Union. Large scale decolonization started in Africa in the 1950s. Libya became the first African country to gain independence. Nasser became President of Egypt and led Arab States into war with Israel.

During the 1950s the cinema became extremely popular following the deprivations of the Second World War. European directors like Frederico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman won major awards for their films. Notable European stars of the period included Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.

Pop art took over from the more traditional art and became influential in advertising and propaganda.

Albert Schweitzer, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemmingway and Boris Pasternak were notable Nobel Prize winners during the period.

Famous sportsmen from the time were;Roger Bannister (Athletics), Rocky Marciano (Boxing), Pele (Football) and Len Hutton (Cricket). The 1952 summer Olympics were held in Helsinki (Finland and the 1956 summer Olympics were held in Melbourne (Australia).

The early 1950s saw 'The Golden Age' of couture in Paris and London. The production of couture was important to the prestige and economy of both France and Britain. Whilst traditionally catering for wealthy private clients the couture houses also sought new markets. As the decade progressed they created perfumes, opened boutiques and licensed their designs to foreign manufacturers. By the late 1950s, the leading couture houses had become global brands.


Today is the first day of September. Autumn is approaching fast. Here are a few facts about the month of September.

September is the ninth month in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with 30 days. In Latin septem means seven and septimus means seventh. September was in fact the seventh month of the roman calendar until 153 BC, when there was a calendar reform from the month of Ides of March to the Kalends, or January 1.

In the Northern hemisphere , the beginning of the meteorological autumn is 1 September.

September marks the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church. September begins on the same day of the week as December every year, because there are 91 days separating September and December, which is a multiple of seven (the amount of days in the week).

In 1752, the British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar. In the British Empire that year, September 2 was immediately followed by September 14.

September's birthstone is the sapphire (pictured left).The meaning is clear thinking.

The birthflowers for September are the forget-me-not (Pictured right) and the aster.

Tightrope Walker Sets German Record

A new record for tightrope walking was successfully set in Germany on Sunday. Freddt Nock of Switzerland walked up a 995 metre-long cable car wire to the top of Germany's highesdt mountain of Zugspitze.
If you would like to see how he did it, click on the video link below:


Brainteaser - Monday's Answer

Here are the answers to the Trivia questions set yesterday. They looked fairly easy, how many did you answer correctly?

01 Scotland.
02 In Colorado, USA.
03 The right of women to vote.
04 The Shah.
05 Shrove Tuesday.
06 Othello.
07 The Pilgrim Fathers.
08 Greenwich Mean Time.
09 Europe.
10 Hampton Court.

9/10 Excellent 7/8 Very Good 5/6 Good - Below 5 Tut, tut. More early nights needed.

Today's Smile

It was April and the Aborigines in a remote part of Northern Australia asked their new elder if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.
Since he was an elder in a modern community he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the tribe should collect firewood to be prepared. But being a practical leader, after several days he had an idea He walked out to the telephone booth on the highway, called the Bureau of Meteorology and asked, "Is the coming winter in this area going to be cold?"
The meteorologist responded, "It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold."
So the elder went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared. A week later he called the Bureau of Meteorology again, "Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?"
The meteorologist again replied, "Yes, it's going to be a very cold winter."
The elder again went back to his community and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find. Two weeks later the elder called the Bureau again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold? he asked.
"Absolutely," the man replied. It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever."
"How can you be so sure?" the elder asked.
The weatherman replied, "Our satellites have reported that the Aborigines in the north are collecting firewood like crazy, and that's always a sure sign.

Did You Know?

iPhones are not yet sold in China.
Margaret Thatcher suffered one parliamentary defeat as prime minister - on Sunday trading laws
English holidaymakers drink an average of eight alcoholic drinks a day.
The UK population grew more in 2008 than at any time since 1962.
And Germany's population is shrinking.
The smell of grass makes people happy.

Funny Signs

In a department store: Bargain Basement Upstairs.

Outside a farm: Horse manure, pre-packed bags. £5. Or, do it yourself, £1 .

At the Electric company: We would be delighted if you send in your payment. If you don't, you will be.

Notice in a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courageous, efficient self-service.

Notice in Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.