logo - Join me in the 1900s mid C20th
The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

The 1948 London
Olympic Games

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During the euphoria of the 2012 London Olympics, I was proud to say that I had seen the 1948 London Olympics.

Yet everyone who was younger than me did not seem particularly impressed. They assumed that it said something about my age, but nothing more. After all, anyone could see any event of the 2012 Olympic Games simply by turning on the television. So they just assumed that the same was true for the 1948 games. However televisions did not start getting into homes until the early 1950s.

What today's younger generation almost certainly don't fully appreciate are that life was very different in 1948. There were no televisions in ordinary houses, and to see anything of the games, one actually had to be there. The vast majority of the population saw nothing of them.

I did not come from a rich family. So tickets for an Olympic event was out of the question. What I saw was the men's marathon, and I saw it by standing with crowds of others, along the route which passed near where I lived in Edgware.

What strikes me now, looking back, is how thin and small the runners were. That must have been due to the austerity and suffering of World War Two but it didn't occur to me at the time as I had nothing else to compare it with.

At the same spot, although I can't be certain that it was on the same day, I also saw the Royal Family sweep by in a car. What struck me about them was how quietly magnificent they looked. I realise now that this was because I had never before seen clothes colour-coordinated - due to the austerity and 'make do and mend' policies of all my young years.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.