A fascinating peek into Britain’s past

We’re not talking about the way distant past here, we’re talking about Britain in the 1950s, a place some found stable, safe and charming, and others repressive and stultifying.  I’m a stable, safe and charming gal myself, so I developed a real sense of nostalgia reading about a place and time I never knew.

UPDATE:  Fixed the caption from “peak” to “peek” — although I guess it was sort of accurate, ’cause Britain seems to have gone way downhill since them.  At leaste my typos are spelled correctly….

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  1. expat says

    Book,
    Have you read Little Heathens by Mildred Kalish?  It’s a quick read about midwestern farm life during the depression.  Much of it was more familiar to me than the description of 50s Britain, but the atmospherics are similar.  And the tale about the adopted racoon is wonderful.

  2. says

    ‘Society then was so oppressive and so false, particularly sexually. Neighbours had this prurience and primness and this awful kind of policing of each other’s lives. Nobody these days could imagine how dull things were and how respectful people were and how dead they were from the neck up.’
    This playright, a right and proper member of the working class, must think CCTV cameras are much better at the kind of ‘awful policing’ that went on before.
    Nobody these days can imagine because they’re too shot up with booze, too ‘pissed’ to care.

  3. BrianE says

    “Mary Quant, just out of art college in the mid-Fifties, looked with dismay at what most women wore  – ‘The un-sexiness, the lack of gaiety, the formal stuffiness. I wanted clothes that were much more for being young and alive in.’
    But restraint and uniformity were the order of the day, as the Indian writer Nirad Chaudhuri noted during a 1955 visit to England.”
    One of the commenters remarked how the left held the 50’s in such disdain. How ironic that the left’s policies in England are going to lead to a return to many of the qualities of the 50’s: modest clothing, segregated society, and an increased level of intrusion in their lives. It’s called Sharia law.

  4. says

    How ironic that the left’s policies in England are going to lead to a return to many of the qualities of the 50’s: modest clothing, segregated society, and an increased level of intrusion in their lives. It’s called Sharia law.
    The Left could never have kicked out Winston Churchill, immediately after WWII, and instituted their conformist brand of social justice without the British character of respect for authority, conformity to government, monarchic, or social norms, or the British character of reserve and refusal to engage in extreme active rebellion against things that they dislike (stoicism).

    The very things they decry, conformity, Nazi extremes, and Communist failures, are the very things they need to exist for them to gain power. They are the Uber Parasite. A parasite that does not recognize that the host provides the parasite the resources, but instead the parasite believes it is of benefit to the host, that the host, in this new form,  can only exist in this form rather than its original state.

  5. says

    Which is why they don’t have anything wrong with Sharia. They’ve seen what religion and conformity brought, and they know in their heart of hearts that they have the competence, the intelligence, and the experience to mold these new people into the Utopia just as they did with the old people.

    Herein lies human arrogance and hubris in full glory. They believe they will be given the same consideration in the land of Sharia that they were given in the US and Britain. They believe they will be just as successful, just as powerful, in the New Sharia as in the Old Christianity. Is that not hubris to think so?

  6. SADIE says

    Got this one via email today –
    HIGH SCHOOL 1959 vs. 2009 Scenario  1: Jack  goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school  parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack. 1959  – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack. 2009  – School  goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers. Scenario  2: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school. 1959  – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.. 2009  – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it. Scenario  3: Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students. 1959  – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the  Principal He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.. 2009  – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability. Scenario  4: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt. 1959  – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman. 2009  – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.  Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist. Scenario  5: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school. 1959 - Mark  shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking  dock. 2009 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons. Scenario  6: Pedro fails high school English. 1959 - Pedro  goes to summer school, passes English and goes to  college. 2009 - Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher.  English is then banned from  core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak  English.. Scenario  7: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.. 1959  - Ants die. 2009 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents  — and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again. Scenario  8: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort  him. 1959  - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.. 2009  - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison.  Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

  7. BrianE says

    I certainly remember those days, Sadie.  I got in 1 fight in high school. During a choir concert, on of the tenors was goofing off, being very disruptive, and after the concert I challenged him to a fight. Now it was dark, and I am extremely near-sighted. Can you see where this is going? He took me up on my offer, and we headed to the back of the building, with half of the choir tagging along. Needless to say, in the dark and practically blind, I couldn’t see his fists until they had gotten extremely close to my face, and by then he had penetrated my defenses. My only hope was to rush him and try and tie him up. Bobby finally suggested we quit, since his fists were beginning to bleed. Unlike the black knight, I recognized the futility of the situation and acquiesed. The outcome of the fight: one broken nose (which I carry with me to this day), but we did become pretty good friends. And surprisingly, the rest of the choir season was rather unenventful.

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