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14 fabulous memories of a post war childhood

Posted on 24 October 2016

Do you remember Children’s Hour and bread ’n’ dripping?

We might not all vividly remember the war years, but all of us born in the 1940s will recall the deep scars it left and the incredible wartime spirit that lived on long after the VE Day celebrations.

The war also brought about huge social change – women became vital to the workforce, the National Health Service gave us free healthcare and secondary education was a must for all children over 11. All things we take for granted today.

In the early 1950s life remained tough and rationing continued. but the glamour of technicolour hollywood and the birth of rock’n’roll kept our spirits high.

There’s no doubt we grew up with very little but we always managed to create our own fun. Here’s just a few of our most cherished memories of precious times.

Chip and PIN was remembering mum’s Co-op divi number when we were sent to the shop on an errand.

The front of a Co-operative shop

Some flavours are hard to forget. We can taste the malt and cod liver oil washed down with welfare orange juice to this day…

a queue of children waiting for a spoonful of medicine

Not even rationing could keep us from our favourite treat and only take away choice - fish and chips - wrapped in newspaper of course.

children waiting in the fish and chip shop

When it was cold we put a jumper on and in the morning, ice on the inside of the windows got us out of bed and off to school sharpish.

Condensation and ice on a window

We always played outside and invented our own games with whatever we could find. playgrounds were bombsites, dilapidated buildings, fields and streams and lampposts made the best swings.

Girl swinging on a rope round a lamppost near a bombed building

Nothing beat the pictures on a Saturday. Cheering the goodies, booing the baddies and gripping our seats watching zorro and the lone ranger, before standing up for the national anthem…

children sat in the cinema

Nothing much happened on a Sunday… unless we got to go to the seaside. Sometimes dad rolled his trousers up and went for a paddle but it would have to be very hot for him to take his jacket off.

And who can forget the droop of a soggy knitted swimming costume? But it didn’t dampen our spirits!

Small boy in knitted swimming trunks

We never answered back, got a good telling off if we misbehaved and always kept our elbows off the table…

a young boy sat at a dinner table

There was always someone at the door – delivery boys, the coal man, the milkman, the rag and bone man… the list was endless.

Children crowded round the rag and bone man’s horse

Not forgetting the neighbours… but they didn’t knock! Mums with prams nattered in the street and no one ever bothered with a front door key.

Mothers with prams chatting and children playing in the street

We grew up listening to Children’s Hour, Vera Lynn and the American big band sound on the wireless (that’s a radio in a wooden box, kids!).

picture of a wooden radio

Then in a flash rock’n’roll was upon us. We shaked, we rattled and we rolled. The girls swooned, the boys practiced that lip curl…

an Elvis Presley viynl record

…and the rebellious teenager was born. We were free, independent and doing our own thing. Yet another first for us, but we’re not ones to boast, because we weren’t brought up that way.

1950s teenagers dancing to rock’n’roll

We may not have had much when we were kids but we made the most of it and got so much pleasure from the little things and blowing 6d at the sweet shop was the richest of pickings! if this trip back to the post war years has got you feeling nostalgic for simpler times, we’d love you to share your fond memories with us.

If you’ve loved this look back at your childhood years, you might also enjoy the memories we’ve collected about make do and mend; as a way of life and house prices then and now.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

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.

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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.

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If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

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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.

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