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 Christmas in the 1970s  
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roobarrb
Wee Haggis


roobarrb

United Kingdom
40 Posts
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04 Feb 2018
Posted - 10 Dec 2012 :  8:48:15 PM Show ProfileSend roobarrb a Private Message Reply with Quote
I know this topic has been covered before, but at this time of year I often think back to my childhood Christmases. I remember going to see the threadbare Santa in his crepe paper and plywood grotto in a top-floor store room at the Co-op drapery. All around were tinsely tables with Airfix kits, Weebles, Scalextric, Action Man dolls and all the other big toys of the day. For about 20p you got to have a lucky dip in Santa's sack (no tittering at the back) and usually ended up with a little 'Made in Hong Kong' toy such as a doll or whistle. The old John Menzies shop had a peculair inside display window half way up the stairs and this was decorated with a few fairy lights and bits of cotton wool to make things a bit festive. Other favourite shops were Henderson's emporium (great for Corgi and Dinky cars), and Yule's which had the town's best selection of annuals. Millar's the ironmonger in Fisheracre also had some good toys. When the Christmas tree went up in Kirk Square we'd go to see it after school and admire its twinkling 'fireglow' lights (which often got nicked for people's electric fires). It may all seem a bit tacky now but it was magical back then. Or maybe I was just easily pleased as a wean.
flintstone
Master Smokie


flintstone

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Posted - 10 Dec 2012 :  9:50:48 PM Show ProfileSend flintstone a Private Message Reply with Quote
What you describe is practically the same as Christmas in the late 50's and 60's, as I recall when I was a bairn. Except the lucky dips at the Co-op were 6d and and shilling! There used to be a shop on Brothock Bridge called Stan Timms, and he sold bicycles and toys. His window display was the best ever - a life sized Santa Claus pedalling a bike. We used to go round to the shop and just stare in the window at this marvellous sight! Another good toy shop was Riley's at the top of Guthrie Port. Christmas was a magical time for kids back then - you genuinely didnt know what you would get in your stocking on Christmas day! Regular pressies for me was my Bunty annual, slippers, and a tin of Bluebird toffees, usually with a lovely picture on the tin, plus the usual apple, orange and penny in the toe of the stocking.
woodentop
Senior Smokie


woodentop

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Posted - 10 Dec 2012 :  10:55:09 PM Show ProfileSend woodentop a Private Message Reply with Quote
Frost on the inside of the bedroom window. Happy days!
stan
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stan

Canada
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Posted - 11 Dec 2012 :  2:22:01 PM Show Profile Visit stan's HomepageSend stan a Private Message Reply with Quote
yep cowboy guns and holsters Dan Dare space guns that made a lot of noise with spark flying out the barrel...And of course the Stan Timms Santa You really know it was Christmas when he turned up!! :-) Aye them wiz the days alright :-)
stan
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stan

Canada
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Posted - 11 Dec 2012 :  2:26:32 PM Show Profile Visit stan's HomepageSend stan a Private Message Reply with Quote
I knew Joe Riley and hsi son Tony very well He was in the Royal Navy at Condor with my dad and stayed after demob He loved to walk about in his kilt even though he was from South of the border...
woodentop
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woodentop

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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  01:12:00 AM Show ProfileSend woodentop a Private Message Reply with Quote
Can I stress that in your average unheated 70's cooncil hoose it was generally so cold at Xmas that it would smash the most robust brass monkey into small pieces?

Unless we had a paraffin heater deployed: a small tower (perhaps 2 - 3ft tall) which when lit became red hot at the top and had a wee window at the base so you could check out the blue flame from the wick. There was also an external indicator which told you how much paraffin was left (which you could replenish at Miller's at Fishergate or Addison's at Montrose Road).

And a mouse trap mechanical effort under the base ensured that if the flesh-sizzling tower of power fell over, a cover would snap shut over the wick to restrict the burnt carpet/scarred small child/dog damage being transformed into a blazing inferno... however much the latter would have appealed at the time.
woodentop
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woodentop

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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  08:19:43 AM Show ProfileSend woodentop a Private Message Reply with Quote
Miller's at Fisheracre even. Doh.
Derek
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Arbroath, Scotland
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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  11:42:17 AM Show ProfileSend Derek a Private Message Reply with Quote
Although i lived in Arbroath in the 70's i was just a baby and can't mind it.
I think our council house was fitted with the same basic heating and windows for a lot of my childhood, but I don't have memories of freezing temperatures indoors during the winter.
Perhaps it depended on which generation of council housing you lived in? The newer schemes, prefabs, old stone built or pre-war tenement style.

Derek.
exBraemar
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exBraemar

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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  12:31:32 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
Friends of mine went to visit my parents while they were visiting family in B. Ferry. My mother used to laugh at their reaction when she went to put their coats on the bed in the bedroom (as you did). This was in the early 80's and mum said she'd never forget the look of horror as the blast of Arctic air hit the visitors when she opened the bedroom door. "Don't tell me you SLEEP in here?" was the comment smile So much for a warm welcome at New Year in Arbroath ! They did go on to buy the house and install heating but my mum never stopped missing her coal fire. It was an old stone built house and we loved it but I can never forget the bedrooms in winter !
exBraemar
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exBraemar

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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  12:33:22 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
They lived at the corner of Brechin Road and Fisheracre.
Terrymac
Master Smokie


Terrymac

United Kingdom
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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  1:45:18 PM Show Profile Visit Terrymac's HomepageSend Terrymac a Private Message Reply with Quote
We moved to a "brand new" council house in May 1951 when I was only three.. my memories were all during the 1950's for Christmas.. The Co-op Christmas Parties.. Our council house had a form of "radiator" in the master bedroom (Ma & Da's) and the second bedroom (My brither an' me).. They worked from the back-boiler of the coal fire.. A hand lever/valve, in the cupboard beside the fire, changed it from "radiators" to hot water cylinder.. The other bedroom was my oldest brother, Garry, with no heating at all.. As we grew older it was used less and less and by the time I was eleven the coal fire was not used, we went electric and also had an Aladin Oil Heater at top of stairs in winter so no radiator heating... I do rememeber writing/drawing on ice formed on inside of my bedroom window and getting a skelp for doing so. My best ever Xmas present was when I was about eight, my brother John had become an apprentice joiner at Gerrards boatyard and he built me a fort, Mum and Dad got me a load of lead soldiers and cannons to use with it.. Second best was a Meccano Set following year.

Terrymac
I have only one voice but I still strive to make a difference.
exBraemar
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exBraemar

USA
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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  2:25:57 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
Terrymac I lived in the same type of house as you in the 50's and I had the 'wee bedroom' wi' nae heat...I tell folk that's what made us hardy compared to these spoiled Americans I live among now smile My friend in Arbroath's husband who had a newer 'cooncil hoose' was a wee bit grippy with money and as a result held out on heating until they almost had to wear gloves in the house. Even he had to give in and turn heat on though when he couldn't get out the door to go to work one morning becaust the door lock was frozen shut !Your mention of lead soldiers brought me back too, my pal Brian Hosie when we lived in Cairnie St had a fort and lead soldiers too and when we fell out I used to break the heads off his soldiers....now at least over here these same soldiers go for lots of money at antique shows and stores !
roobarrb
Wee Haggis


roobarrb

United Kingdom
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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  5:04:01 PM Show ProfileSend roobarrb a Private Message Reply with Quote
I survived my unheated bedroom by having a brushed nylon fitted sheet, two old army blankets, a thick tartan rug, a candlewick bedspread and my dad's old overcoat on the bed. If it was really cold my mum would add her fake mink coat to the pile. It was all so heavy I could barely turn over during the night. The first time a saw a duvet was when I went to stay with a girlfriend's family in Manchester in the early 1980s. I shamed myself by trying to get inside the duvet cover. How she laughed.
Terrymac
Master Smokie


Terrymac

United Kingdom
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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  6:45:05 PM Show Profile Visit Terrymac's HomepageSend Terrymac a Private Message Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by exBraemar

Terrymac Your mention of lead soldiers brought me back too, my pal Brian Hosie when we lived in Cairnie St had a fort and lead soldiers too and when we fell out I used to break the heads off his soldiers....


Braemar ha ha ha! hilarious... but mine got "broken off" when I played with them, I was not a careful kid with my toys.. A swan vesta match pushed into soldier (where neck was) then I pushed head onto bit poking out.. it worked well.. I think all may soldiers ended up as "weights" when I went fishing!!


Terrymac
I have only one voice but I still strive to make a difference.
woodentop
Senior Smokie


woodentop

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Posted - 12 Dec 2012 :  10:00:32 PM Show ProfileSend woodentop a Private Message Reply with Quote
I was up Mayfield in a block of four houses (two up / two down) - no central heating, though you could divert the fire up the lum to heat hot water for a bath in the otherwise freezing bathroom.

We had a "heat lamp" in there which did kick out a fair bit of warmth, which unfortunately exploded into tiny shards when sprayed with the water-filled contents of an old toothpaste dispenser (with trigger man - me - in the bath).
Marcol
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Posted - 14 Dec 2012 :  11:26:38 AM Show Profile Visit Marcol's HomepageSend Marcol a Private Message Reply with Quote
In the 1950's my dad worked on Christmas Day as it was not a public holiday in Scotland, does anyone remember when Christmas became a holiday.
exBraemar
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exBraemar

USA
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Posted - 14 Dec 2012 :  12:34:11 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
I'm curios too, Marcol. My guess would be 1958, does anybody know for sure?
exBraemar
Senior Smokie


exBraemar

USA
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Posted - 14 Dec 2012 :  12:40:07 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
curious
Terrymac
Master Smokie


Terrymac

United Kingdom
2437 Posts
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Posted - 14 Dec 2012 :  12:45:45 PM Show Profile Visit Terrymac's HomepageSend Terrymac a Private Message Reply with Quote
A couple of times, when working on Scottish "forces" bases (RAF, Naval, Army), I remember the civvy staff having a "bank" holiday (or statutory) but we did'n't... and vice versa. Christmas day was a "bank" holiday but only observed, in full, by the financial sector and their associated office trades. It has been a "bank" holiday since 1871 and revised in 1971.. See Following :.

Scotland (1871 Act):
New Year's Day, Good Friday, the first Monday in May, the first Monday in August and Christmas Day.
The 1871 Act was repealed (replaced) 100 years later and its provisions incorporated into the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, which is the current (UK-wide) statutory basis for bank holidays .. since Devolution, some of the constituent parts of the UK can vary these provisions, and in Scotland, the dates of various holidays are a matter for the Scottish Executive.
From 1971 In Scotland, although bank holidays are observed in the banking / financial sector, they have less significance than elsewhere; the public and business community in Scotland tend to observe various local and traditional days; these are often defined by local authorities or the Executive.

So, Marcol, your Dad would have worked Xmas day and had another day of instead.. I know from 1964 that I had Xmas day, Boxing day and New Years day as statutory holidays but that was with the Naval Dockyard as a student apprentice. P.S. It was a 44 hour week working 5 1/2 days meaning working Saturday mornings, soon changed to a 42 hour five day week, then a 40 hour week.
When I moved to Englandshire I had to "book" New Years day of as part of my holiday entitlement until about 1974 when it became a statutory holiday down here.


Terrymac
I have only one voice but I still strive to make a difference.
exBraemar
Senior Smokie


exBraemar

USA
640 Posts
Last here:
19 Sep 2018
Posted - 14 Dec 2012 :  2:05:50 PM Show Profile Visit exBraemar's HomepageSend exBraemar a Private Message Reply with Quote
Not always the case Terrymac....my dad was in the building trade and he always went in half an hour late with his bosses' permission so he could see me opening my presents before goin to work. In those days there was no other day off in lieu of Christmas, it just wasn't recognized as a Holiday, period. New Year was different, but our neighbor had Christmas off before the building trade ever managed to make Christmas official, because the neighbor worked in Frasers.Remember I'm aulder than you...(Said in a wee quavery voice).
Terrymac
Master Smokie


Terrymac

United Kingdom
2437 Posts
Last here:
27 Nov 2018
Posted - 14 Dec 2012 :  3:46:55 PM Show Profile Visit Terrymac's HomepageSend Terrymac a Private Message Reply with Quote
Hi Braemar.. I may not have written my explanation clear enough.. I know many people worked Xmas day.. Back to 1871 there were 4 statutory days that "bosses" had to give their staff.. In Scotland these were moveable as the "boss" saw fit and also to keep staff happy, all could be different, excepting Financial businesses (Banks) who did have Xmas day. The Banks opened on New Years Day and I remember that in the 1960's.
We have generally had New Years Day instead of Xmas Day since then, (this was the day in lieu).. The English had Xmas day and worked New Years day. When I moved down to England (as young lad of 22) the older guys (50+) always spoke of the Scots never celebrating Christmas because we did not have the day off!! As I said before I was amazed to find New Year was not a holiday doon here then and I had to book it off!!


Terrymac
I have only one voice but I still strive to make a difference.
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