Remembrance of Things Past

Mostly about growing up the 1950s in Ilford, Essex.

[115] Just Fade Away

4 Comments

It’s over a year since I finished this blog and I wanted to remind old readers of my memories and inform new readers.

There is a Full List that will take you to any of the over a hundred posts covering everything you always wanted to know about the Fifties and Sixties. If you like them, please share them with your friends.

 

I have added a few more thoughts and I have picked some of the things that have disappeared gradually – things that we just assumed kept going but then suddenly we may notice that they have gone.

Of course the main things that we oldsters will reminisce about are the intangible things like respect for authority; the innocence that came from not knowing about the World, and children being able to walk to school.

Just a few years after I started this blog, I note now that there were things that would have been recognized ten or twenty years ago as very old-fashioned but that the younger generation now would not even understand – things like: cameras with films and negatives; typewriters with keys; carbon paper; films in cinemas with projectors; landline telephones that were fixed to the wall; cathode ray tube televisions; printing presses; fountain pens and radios.

But here are some things that we had everywhere in the Fifties, things that people of my age will remember, but things we don’t have any more. They disappeared gradually. We didn’t notice them going but now they have become unfashionable or unnecessary – or are obsolete because of technology – or for some reasons are just not the way we do things any more. They may still exist but be much less common than they used to be. Some will be listed below with comments and some without. Some may have been mentioned in earlier blogs. The order is very random. (Yes, I know, ‘random’ can’t be qualified like this. Language is not as precise as it used to be!)

 

Cheese Rind

It must be the way they make cheese now.

Bacon Rind

Cream on the top of Milk

Car Bumpers

Cars were always very similar, generally black. They had chrome bumpers at the front and rear. First the chrome went – becoming plastic. Then the bumpers got smaller and smaller. Now they have gone altogether.

Hub Caps on Cars

They used to be chrome like the bumpers. People don’t have time to polish chrome now.

Back Doors

The milkman and baker always came to the ‘back door.’ It may have been at the side of the house but all houses had a front door and a back door. (We never locked the back door in the daytime.) New houses don’t have a back door but they probably have French windows [or French doors or conservatory doors. I won’t go into the language.]

Windows

I don’t think there is a word for them but bedrooms had a small window at the top that was always open to let in the fresh air. Modern houses don’t have them upstairs or downstairs. It’s all to do with central heating.

Quarter-lights

This is related. Cars used to have small windows, especially one beside the driver to get some air circulating – before cars had such good heaters with air-conditioning. Many drivers smoked and it was not unknown to have cigarette ends thrown out through the quarter-light. Of course we did not have electric windows in cars. [OK, cars used to have ash-trays as well – not any more.]

Shop Windows

No, I’m not obsessed by windows but almost every shop used to have a shop window displaying some of the things they were selling. These have gradually disappeared.

Net Curtains

It must be a fashion thing.

Privet Hedges

Tin Openers and Potato Peelers

I suppose I could also put hand whisks here.

Cobblers

Repairing shoes used to be common.

Street Cleaners

Men used to go round pushing their trolleys on wheels with a broom to sweep up litter. Now it’s hard to find anywhere without litter.

Park-keepers

The End of the Central Line from Epping to Ongar

I suppose if I still lived in Ilford I would have noticed but it came as a surprise when I did find out.

Telephone Kiosks

Most of those that are left are listed buildings used for defibrillators or cash machines.

Ticket Sales and Ticket Collectors on Railways

Fixed Prices for Trains – or Coaches or Aeroplane Flights

You used to be able to know the price of a ticket from one station to another. Now you need to book online and give the exact date and time and then you may still have a choice of various ticket types. If you check the next day you may get different options or different prices.

Fireworks at Home

Cap Guns

Luminous Watches

I think this another ‘Health and Safety’ thing. It was radioactivity that made them luminous. Even watches are disappearing now. We have mobile phones or Fitbits that tell us the time. [You don’t see many large clocks out now either.]

Scarecrows

Policemen’s Helmets

Ice-cream Vans

 Wafers

They would play their familiar jingles. You could get wafers or lollies or choc-ices.

Pullovers

pullover

Short trousers for boys

Skirts for schoolgirls

Public Conveniences

Perhaps the number of shops providing toilets have made these buildings obsolete. They must be expensive and difficult to maintain. I can think of several locally that have been demolished or turned into restaurants or just closed.

Deck Chairs

I suppose the week long English seaside holiday on the beach has gone too.

Pubs

Most have closed or become restaurants.

Pub Signs

We used to play Pub Cricket on long journeys. I won’t give the full rules but you counted the number of legs to get runs in cricket. The ‘Dog and Duck’ would be six runs, four for the dog and two for the duck. With plurals like the ‘Fox and Hounds’ you had to see the sign to see how many hounds there were. Now those pubs that are left have either changed their names to sound like restaurants or have given up the pub sign. The very few remaining signs are almost all just a name with no picture. (Of course you can’t play Pub Cricket on motorways anyway.)

Football Pools

Holiday Camps

Free Meals on Aeroplanes

Tea Cosies and Tea Strainers

We all use tea-bags now. Also on the way out are old-fashioned tea-cups and saucers and rich tea biscuits. The Teasmade has gone too. Kettles have almost disappeared.

Prams

Margarine, Lard and Dripping

Telephone Exchanges

Even the exchange names have gone. My number isn’t Cheltenham any more. It’s 01242-.

Counties in Addresses

The county used to be so important that we always wrote them in capitals. They are not required now. Maybe the town will go next – leaving a postcode and a number. [We didn’t have postcodes.]

Green Shield Stamps

greenshield_mid

Off Licences

The National Anthem

Queen Elizabeth II

It was played at the end of theatre and cinema performances and at closedown for radio and television.

 

Maybe there are others on the way out but not yet quite dead – back gardens, black London taxis, television licences, Post Offices, …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Alan

Retired, currently living in Cheltenham.

4 thoughts on “[115] Just Fade Away

  1. Apologies for the formatting around the tea cosy area I spent hours trying to get WordPress to add more pictures and it wasn’t behaving.

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  2. I was saying this to someone recently, how things disappear gradually and you don’t realise. I was mentioning car bumpers, policemen s helmets and also they used to wear blue shirts, now they are white, when did that change? I really enjoy your blog

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  3. I enjoyed this post. You are back and in fine style.

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  4. Ice Cream vans, I would add the Walls man on a trike.
    Green shield turned into Argos, according to a book I have.
    Off Licences. Too young but purchased my first miniature of rum. Had a terrible headache after. Now aged 60 plus that lesson of over drinking has not sunk in.
    One question can you still purchase cream soda? It was very nice with a small bit on Neapolitan ice cream.

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