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Memories of summer holidays in the 50s

Posted on 12 June 2018

Jam sandwiches and playing out ‘til dark

There was something cosy about growing up in the 50s. We were one of the last generations of kids that were able to grow up with childish innocence, something we kept much later than children these days.

The best time of the year was when the school bell rang and we’d head home for weeks of freedom as Mum and Dad would leave us to our own devices - as long as we were back for in time for tea.

We roamed free

In those days, kids were kids. We were out all day because being stuck inside was a punishment, especially as we didn’t have video games and iPads to keep us entertained.

It felt like our surroundings were much safer than today – there was hardly any traffic to worry about (or none at all), and we were able to enjoy the freedom of outdoor life.

Our days were filled with daisy chains, buttercups, walks in the woods and farmers’ fields.

We would paddle in streams and play cowboys and Indians or cricket and football until the stars came out.

We often played rough and tumble and we sometimes fell out of trees – but it was nothing that a bit of iodine wouldn’t fix.

Our grazed knees would be stained purple the whole of summer - and we loved it.

children in a field
INTERFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

We looked out for each other

Having neighbours meant that there was generally someone you could go to if there was something amiss. Whether a kid or an adult.

All the parents kept an eye out for the neighbours’ children and if we needed a glass of water or the lavatory (as it was called way back when), it was all to hand.

We'd swim in the local pond, and if anyone had taken a towel, everyone would use it.

We went to the seaside

If we were really lucky, we’d get to go on a trip to the seaside.

The excitement of the family bus journey to the beach was always accompanied by a wheels on the bus sing-along.

Then the first sensation of hot sand under your bare feet and running into the sea to cool off made the journey worth it.

There were donkey rides, sticks of rock and fish 'n' chips out of newspaper with vinegar dripping out the end. Now that was eating out.

children on a slide at the beach
Allan Cash Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

We’d take a picnic

Whether we were planning to spend the day in the farmers’ fields or at the local park, Mum would send us away with enough to keep us going until tea.

We’d take egg or blackberry jam sandwiches for lunch, and a bottle of water for everyone to share. Or sometimes, we’d get to take our favourite drink made up from that orange powder.

If we went for a picnic with Mum, she’d pack all kinds of goodies. Slices of apple, cheese triangles and hard boiled eggs. It was a real treat!

three children with their mum having a picnic
Allan Cash Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

We had square ice cream cones!

What’s summer without ice cream?! Back in the 50s, our ice cream cones looked a bit different to what you buy in the supermarket or from an ice cream shop today.

We used to buy individually wrapped ice cream bricks which were made by Walls, and we’d eat them in rectangular wafer cornets.

You’d buy a cone and a chunk of ice cream wrapped in a bit of grease proof paper and make the cone up yourself. Those were the days!

In the late 50s, early 60s, ice cream vans even appeared on the streets, much to our parents’ dismay. Mister Softee ice creams were a dream on a scorching hot day.

What’s your favourite memory of summer in the 50s? Go back to your childhood and remember your good old days. Is there anything you did that your grandchildren might enjoy today?

If this article took you back to simpler times and you’re in the mood for more, you may also enjoy these memories of a post war childhood, the 1950s home and earning your first bob as a kid.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Ltd which is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

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The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.