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When Britain had ‘never had it so good’: Nostalgic 1950s photos

Quaint photos taken nearly seven decades ago recall the day-to-day life of a typical middle-class English family.

They include a child scrubbing his shoes on his front step along with his yawning dog, a pupil studiously completing his homework, and a family sitting down together for an evening meal.

Others depict children playing outside on their bikes and go-karts on the near-empty streets, as well as an orderly queue waiting to board a double-decker bus passing through Dedworth, Windsor.

These quaint black-and-white photos of middle-class family life in 1950 were taken in Dedworth, Windsor, and include images of children playing in a largely empty street 

A family sitting down together for an evening meal in one of a collection of photos showing middle-class family life in post-war Britain

A family sitting down together for an evening meal in one of a collection of photos showing middle-class family life in post-war Britain

Others show the family doing the washing up after dinner

A boy scrubbing his shoes on the front step next to a yawning dog

Others show a family doing the washing up after dinner (left) and a boy scrubbing his shoes on the front step next to a yawning dog 

The 1950s saw average salaries more than double and full employment. Inflation stood at around three percent. Pictured: People queue up for a double-decker bus 

The 1950s saw average salaries more than double and full employment. Inflation stood at around three percent. Pictured: People queue up for a double-decker bus 

A mother puts some food in the oven as her son stands by her and the family dog peers in through an open window 

A mother puts some food in the oven as her son stands by her and the family dog peers in through an open window 

The photographs were taken in 1950 and give us a glimpse into family life after the Second World War.

Back then the social landscape in Britain was very different.

At the time it was rare for the woman of the house to have her own occupation and she was usually expected to play the role of ‘model wife’, while the husband went to work. Only around one third of women had employment of some kind.

Times were undeniably tough for those considered separate from mainstream society, with gay people, immigrants, single mothers and divorcees often viewed as outcasts and treated cruelly as a result.

Divorces were far more difficult to procure before sweeping social in the 1960s and the introduction of the 1969 Divorce Reform Act. There were 33,000 divorces in Britain in 1950 compared with 155,000 in 2000. In 2017, the figure sat at 101,669.

Only one in 20 children were born out of wedlock, compared with nearly 50 per cent of children born in the UK today.

The child on the step glances back at the dog who is ready to go outside for a walk in a depiction of the comfortable standard of living enjoyed by many families at the time 

The child on the step glances back at the dog who is ready to go outside for a walk in a depiction of the comfortable standard of living enjoyed by many families at the time 

By 1957, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously informed his Conservative colleagues that 'most of our people have never had it so good'. Pictured: The boy trains his dog who to obey orders to sit 

By 1957, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously informed his Conservative colleagues that ‘most of our people have never had it so good’. Pictured: The boy trains his dog who to obey orders to sit 

While these black-and-white photos show a middle class family enjoying a comfortable standard of living, the picture elsewhere was not always so rosy. Years of war had ravaged the country's industry, housing stock and green spaces

While these black-and-white photos show a middle class family enjoying a comfortable standard of living, the picture elsewhere was not always so rosy. Years of war had ravaged the country’s industry, housing stock and green spaces

Nearly half the population made do with private rented accommodation - often in cramped conditions with little comfort or warmth. Half of the UK's homes had no indoor bathroom. Pictured: People play with the dog inside a pub 

Nearly half the population made do with private rented accommodation – often in cramped conditions with little comfort or warmth. Half of the UK’s homes had no indoor bathroom. Pictured: People play with the dog inside a pub 

In the economic sphere, the 1950s saw average salaries more than double and full employement. 

Meanwhile, production increase in major industries such as coal and steel, and exports and investment was booming.  

By 1957, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously informed his Conservative colleagues at a rally in Bedford that ‘most of our people have never had it so good’.

However, he was still concerned about inflation, and described the question of how to keep up growth and employement while controlling prices as the ‘64,000 dollar question’. 

While these black-and-white photos show a middle class family enjoying a comfortable standard of living, the picture elsewhere was not always so rosy.

Years of war had ravaged the country’s industry, housing stock and green spaces and left a legacy of high taxation.

Nearly half the population made do with private rented accommodation – often in cramped conditions with little comfort or warmth. Half of the UK’s homes had no indoor bathroom.

Due to the after effects of the Second World War, it was not until 19 May 1950 that restraints were lifted on canned fruit, chocolate biscuits and mincemeat.

Bacon fans would have to wait another four years before it was freely available without restriction.

And sweets only stop being rationed in 1953, prompting British children to rush to the nearest sweet shops to stash up on treats such as toffee apples, nougat and liquorice.  

Due to the after effects of the Second World War, it was not until 19 May 1950 that restraints were lifted on canned fruit, chocolate biscuits and mincemeat. Here, children are seen playing outside on an empty road 

Due to the after effects of the Second World War, it was not until 19 May 1950 that restraints were lifted on canned fruit, chocolate biscuits and mincemeat. Here, children are seen playing outside on an empty road 

A boy studiously completes his homework on a desk inside his home piled with several textbooks 

A boy studiously completes his homework on a desk inside his home piled with several textbooks 

Although these images paint a picture of social harmony, life was often tough for people considered to be outside the mainstream. Pictured: A boy stands outside the house in his school  uniform 

Although these images paint a picture of social harmony, life was often tough for people considered to be outside the mainstream. Pictured: A boy stands outside the house in his school  uniform 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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