The 50s

­­Life in the 50s

Children in the 1950s had very different lives to young people today. Most left school much earlier, with many starting work at 14, and far fewer peopl­e had the chance to go on to further education.

The after-effects of the Second World War were still ongoing, for instance many goods were still being rationed in the early 1950s. Sugar was rationed until 1953 and meat only came off ration a year later.

Ordinary families had little spare money for treats like cinema trips and holidays. Before most homes had televisions, people spent their spare time listening to the radio or reading the newspaper; they played board games rather than computer games; and in place of the selection of fast food outlets we have to choose from, they had a takeaway from the local fish and chip shop.

The 1950s family home was also very different from our own. Housework was much more difficult, as for example people did their washing by hand, instead of in a machine, and with refrigerators being a luxury item for most people, food had to be bought daily. It was less common for married women to work and many took on the childcare and housework, while their husbands went to work.

Films released in the 1950’s…

  • Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • Around The World in 80 Days (1956)
  • The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
  • Cinderella – Disney (1950)
  • Peter Pan – Disney (1953)
  • Some Like it Hot (1959)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  • Ben Hur (1959)
  • North by NorthWest (1959)
  • The Ten Commandments (1956)
  • Sleeping Beauty – Disney (1959)
  • Alice in Wonderland – Disney (1951)
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
  • Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
  • Carry on Nurse (1959)
  • High Noon (1952)

Tunes released in the 1950’s…

These songs are all instantly recognisable and most will know at least the chorus. These songs set the foundations for Pop / Rock music as we know it today.

  • Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode / Roll Over Beethoven
  • Elvis Presley – Hound Dog / Heartbreak Hotel / Jailhouse Rock
  • Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire
  • Little Richard – Tutti Fruitti / Good Golly Miss Molly
  • Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues / C’Mon Everybody
  • Buddy Holly – Peggy Sue
  • Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes
  • Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill
  • Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers – Why do Fools Fall in Love
  • Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  • The Everly Brother – Wake Up Little Susie / All I Have to do is Dream
  • Nat King Cole – When I Fall in Love
  • Richie Valens – La Bamba
  • Bill Haley and His Comets – Rock Around the Clock

Famous People who were Born during the 1950’s…

  • Peter Gabriel (Musician) 13th February 1950
  • Robbie Coltrane (Actor – Hagrid in Harry Potter) 30th March 1950
  • Jeremy Paxman (TV Presenter) 11th May 1950
  • Sir Richard Branson (Entrepreneur) 18th July 1950
  • Phil Collins (Musician) 30th January 1951
  • Kevin Keegan (Footballer) 14th February 1951
  • Jane Seymour (Actress) 15th February 1951
  • Sting (Musician) 2nd October 1951
  • Liam Neeson (Actor) 7th June 1952
  • Estelle Morris (Politician) 17th June 1952
  • Mel Smith (Comic Actor) 3rd December 1952
  • Tony Blair (Ex Prime Minister) 6th May 1953
  • Victoria Wood (Comic Actress) 16th May 1953
  • Nigel Mansell (Formula 1 Driver) 8th August 1953
  • Willie Thorne (Snooker Player) 4th March 1954
  • Trevor Francis (Footballer) 19th April 1954
  • Annie Lennox (Musician) 25th December 1954
  • Rowan Atkinson (Actor / Comedian) 6th January 1955
  • Val McDermid (Novelist) 4th June 1955
  • Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web inventor) 8th June 1955
  • Ian Botham (Cricketer) 24th November 1955
  • Sue Barker (Tennis Player / TV Presenter) 19th April 1956
  • Theresa May (Prime Minister) 1st October 1956
  • Danny Boyle (Film Director) 20th October 1956
  • Nigel Kennedy (Violinist) 28th December 1956
  • Michael Foale (Astronaut) 6th January 1957
  • Gordan Strachan (Footballer) 9th February 1957
  • Danny Baker (Music Journalist / DJ) 22nd June 1957
  • Jane Torvill (Ice Skater) 7th October 1957
  • Jools Holland (Musician) 24th January 1958
  • Peter Capaldi (Dr. Who) 14th April 1958
  • Paul Weller (Musician) 25th May 1958
  • Daley Thompson (Athlete) 30th July 1958
  • Nick Park (Animator – Aardman) 6th December 1958
  • Emma Thompson (Actress) 5th April 1959
  • Martin Brundle (Formula 1 Driver) 1st June 1959
  • Simon Cowell (X Factor) 7th October 1959
  • Lorraine Kelly (TV Presenter) 30th November 1959
  • Andy McNab (Soldier / Author) 28th December 1959