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

Random recollections
of 1960s England

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I was in my twenties when the events and observations of these recollections occurred.

Ways round Retail Price Maintenance

All identical items cost the same in all shops which was known as Retail Price Mainten­ance (RPM). It started during World War Two, but it meant little to me until my husband and I set up home in the 1960s.

Shopkeepers didn't like RPM and I had assumed that this was because they wanted to charge more, so as to increase their profit. In fact the reverse was true. Many wanted to charge less to increase their trade. So they found ways round it. The one that meant so much to my husband and me was the percentage reductions for members of particular organisations. We furnished our home using it.

Retail Price Maintenance was discontinued soon afterwards.

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Felt display boards

Computer graphics, if it existed, was still in its infancy. So the television weather forecasters showed the expected weather with pieces of felt shaped and drawn to indicate rain, sun, cloud etc and they moved these around over a felt background. Felt sticks loosely to felt, so can be moved around easily.

Felt graphics was common, particularly in infant schools. In motherhood classes when I was expecting my first baby, I was taught what food was good for me from a nurse who stuck coloured pieces of felt onto a felt background. The shapes and colours represented fish, butter, milk, cheese, vegetables etc. I felt rather patronised.

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Gold teeth

As late as the 1960s, it was still not unusual to see people with a gold tooth. These individuals had had their dentistry work done before suitable man-made materials had been developed. Back teeth which didn't normally show were filled with the standard mercury amalgam which was black, but front teeth were filled with gold. Gold does not tarnish or react with any other substance, so in some ways it was very suitable. However gold is soft, so its use in dentistry must have been limited. Gold is and was also expensive.

A gold tooth was not a decoration or jewellery, it was functional, but it was still a status symbol because ordinary people either couldn't or wouldn't afford it. Instead their bad teeth were simple pulled out, and it was quite normal to see people with gaps in their teeth where one or more teeth were missing.

I can't remember when I last saw anyone with a gold tooth, probably due to improvements in dentistry and the free NHS.

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Food mixers

The ultimate wedding present was a food mixer.

Kenwood Chef food mixer, 1950s

Kenwood Chef food mixer. Photographed in The Lightbox, Woking.

The Kenwood Chef came on the market in the 1950s and I was offered one as a wedding present by my mother-in-law. The idea was that it was going to save me a great deal of time and effort in my new domestic role. She had one herself and thought it was wonderful. In practice, though, I made it clear that I would prefer something else because it of its bulk. In the end I went for a hand mixer.

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.