If you were born in the 1950s you'll remember all these things. Were they the good old days? It depends on whether you’ve got your rose-coloured specs on or not!


1. Horse-drawn milk carts…



The milkman had a horse and cart. Yes Ernie really lived… and you WOULD hear the clip clop of his horse and the clink of the bottles on the doorstep as he made his way down your street well before dawn.

2. The Corona lorry

It came around once a week and your biggest decision was whether to choose root beer or cream soda! And you always kept the bottles to return, as you’d get a penny back on each one!

3. The communal telephone

You had just the one, and it may have been a party line, shared with a neighbour. You’d have different numbers, but if you picked up and they were talking, you’d just have to wait to make your call!

4. The rag and bone man

He’d also came round on a horse and cart (yes, just like Steptoe and Son!), ringing a bell so you’d know he was around, and shouting out ‘Any old iron, any old iron?’

5. The rented TV

Yep, back in the 1950s, the telly was paid for each week up at the Radio Rentals shop, and if you were lucky your mum and dad would change it every year or so for the latest model.

6. The arrival of colour telly!

Nothing quite compared with the excitement of seeing your favourite programmes in blazing colour for the first time. Joy!

7. Making a go cart…

…From some old pram wheels, a couple of planks of old wood and nothing more than a loop of string to steer it. There was no Health and Safety back in the 1950s!

8. The cold!

There was no central heating. Individual rooms were heated with a coal fire or a gas heater – turned on only when the rooms were being used. Your bedroom wasn’t heated!

9. Play time

image of child on scooter


We’d go out and play for hours – sometimes all day. Our mum wouldn’t have a clue where we were or what we were up to – and she didn’t worry!

10. Old money

Decimal coins came in 1971, so we grew up with the old pounds, shillings and pence. We remember the tiny farthings, the 12-sided threepenny bit, the little silver sixpence, and the much loved 10-bob note.

11. Stamps and coupons

Your mum collected Green Shield Stamps and Co-Op ‘divi’ stamps, your dad collected the Embassy tokens from the cigaratte packets and you spent many a happy hour flicking through the catalogues deciding what to ‘spend’ them on!

12. Cigarette sticks and coconut tobacco

We’d pretend to smoke our candy sticks – complete with a pink tip – and scoff brown coconut ‘tobacco’ from a pouch. There were also Jamboree bags, gobstoppers and milk bottles (and thankfully you can still buy them today!)

13. Your dad’s car

To start it, he’d pull out the choke to let the petrol into the engine. Too much and it’d flood, and much cursing would ensue while you waited for it to dry out so he could try again. When he indicated, a little orange arrow-shaped indicator popped out from the side of the car. Seatbelts? What were they…?

14. The first tights

Oh the joy of giving up your suspender belt and nylon stockings for a pair of tights. It was life changing and, yes, we wore bum-scraping mini skirts and tiny hot pants the first time around!

15. Eating out

You’d meet your mates in the local Wimpy Bar for a cheeseburger, cola float and a sticky Rum Baba. A trip out with mum and dad was steak and chips, followed by Black Forest Gateau at the local Berni Inn.

16. New supermarkets

When you were little, your mum went to lots of different shops – meat from the butcher, bread from the bakery, veg and fruit from the greengrocers, but then the first ‘self-service’ shop opened in your high street. Supermarkets had arrived.

17. Your first job

It paid less than £20 a week, you got your wages in a brown envelope on a Friday and, if you were lucky, you also had a 30p Luncheon Voucher every day – it was enough to buy a sandwich AND a packet of crisps!

18. ‘Proper’ music

image og a girl listening to a transistor radio


Radio Caroline was the must-listen radio station on your little hand-held transistor radio. You took it to bed at night to tune in under the covers when your mum thought you were asleep! You listened to your 45s and LPs on your mum and dad’s huge wooden gramophone, or up in your bedroom on a portable ‘Dansette’ record player.