1950's - The Home
Growing up as a child in a 1950's House
Sometimes I look back to the 50's and can't believe I have lived in an age where things were so very different.
Seeing movie clips of those times seems like it was before my time and not after it!
You may still see some furniture in people's houses which have been around since then, but always inter-mingled with modern technology and design.
Saying that however, the revival of 'Retro' has been fairly authentic and who can fault the Basic Bush Radio!
The Kitchen for many was the centre of the house. The Mother, or Housewife' was the mainstay of the family and would, for no want of her own, have to spend quite a lot of time in it.
In my own home, we didn't have a Fridge or a Washing Machine.
You'd have The Larder for cold storage. Usually a walk in cupboard with various shelves above a plain stoned floor.
Meat and Fish would be stored under a felt umbrella on a cold tin plate until cooked. Milk would be placed in a bucket of cold water and butter etc would be covered.
This was offset by the fact you didn't do so much 'the weekly shop', but the daily shop - and shops were more plentiful then.
The Kitchen would have a solid wood table, no laminates to talk of then and would often be nicely curved by the overworking saucepans and kitchen utensils which were used on it.
The Gas Oven actually smelled of Gas and you lived in expectation of something going wrong almost everyday.
The terraced house's then were more conventional in their way. You seldom saw an example of the Front Room to Back Room being knocked into one.
The Front Room was for Christmas Dinners and laying out relatives to rest! A special occasion room.
Larger Houses wouldn't have Front and Back Room, they would have 'Sitting Room' and 'Dining Room' with the occasional 'Reading' or 'Writing Room'.
One of the centrepiece furniture items was The Writing Desk, something replaced now by the PC Table.
All shapes and sizes would have all the bills stuffed in little compartments, a small drawer for stamps, drawers full of letters from relatives and friends and a monumental amount of Pens and Ink scattered everywhere.
This furniture item was the business and communication centre and people actually hand wrote letters then!
On top somewhere would be the Standard Bakelite Telephone which took an eternity to dial a number and the cord at the back would forever get tangled and this would be your fault, not your parents even although you never used it.
I can't recall wall to wall carpeting. It was rug with floorboard surround as standard. There were electric Hoovers around, but the average Housewife would use her reliable push pull carpet sweeper and spit and polish for the floorboards.
As I recall, the only flowers in bowls were Sweet Peas. For some reason or other, everyone grew these and each home you walked in appeared to have the same over riding smell.
Other prominant smells would be Moth Balls in Bedrooms, Newspaper on wardrobe shelves and drawer bases, Lavender Furniture Polish and Bath Salts in the Bathroom.
The toilet didn't smell of anything really, except Brobat, but was always the coldest room of the house.
Above all this would be the aroma of coal burning and the coal itself being stored either in the Kitchen or a shed just outside
The combination of above made being a Housewife and Mother, a full time occupation. The upkeep of a 1950's home meant her being a Business person, Budget Holder, Cleaner, Chef, Mother and general Dogs Body - a man's world it was then..
Children's bedrooms then were completely different; no TV, no PC, no Games Console and no massive stacks of toys. All you had were a few books and some toys, all of which would be tidied up before you went to bed or went out.
The good thing was that beds in those days were of strong build and would adequately substitute a Trampolene. Many a boiy or girls head would come a cropper on the ceiling.
The 50's house was a working house and not often one of luxury, that was for the rich.As time went on and TV grew, the House slowly developed more into the entertainment mould. Sitting Room chairs would be turned to face the TV rather than the fire and just walking into the house next door for a chat became a disappearing social activity.
The 60's got nearer and the 'cultural revolution' was warming.