Sunday, 22 April 2012

A to Z 1950s/60s Nostalgia: S

S Smell:
Sooty, smoky streets - Sometimes I walk down the street and catch a vague smell of someone burning a real fire. In the 50s everyone had fires and it was a constant winter smell.

S Memories:
Sweets - Rationing ended in 1953 and, although I was too young to understand it, I do remember there being a certain excitement around buying sweets. A twisted stick of barley sugar was a favourite. I also loved Fry's Five boys chocolate bars and Fry's Five Centres.  And then there were sherbet dips, and  aniseed balls, fruit salad chews, and Spangles, pear drops, and love hearts, Bluebird toffees and what about sweet cigarettes with the little red tip to make it look as if it was alight! I used to walk around pretending to smoke! And liquorice pipes with red sugar strands on the end! And as for gobstoppers, Health and Safety would be having a hundred pink fits.
The faces represented desperation, pacification, expectation, acclamation and realisation.
Hey! I've just got what it means! The boys were asking for chocolate!

Steam trains - We used to take the train from Leicester to London to visit family. When we went through tunnels the smoke poured in through the little sliding window that had the instructions, "Do not open beyond these arrows" printed above it. The smoke made my eyes sting and it hurt so much it made me cry. We sat in individual carriages with a corridor along one side and the train made a lovely clickety-clack noise with the occasional woo-woo from the steam whistle.

I thought you might like to have a quick trip on a steam train for yourselves. London to Brighton in four minutes, the film having been speeded up, of course. It takes about an hour and a half even now. It was another of the Interlude films but I decided to save it for today.

The Saint with a young Roger Moore as Simon Templar
S Programmes:
On TV:
The Saint
The Sooty Show
The Phil Silvers Show
Steptoe and Son

On Radio:
Saturday Club with Brian Matthews
Sing Something Simple

S Names:

Omar Sharif
Peter Sellers
Graham Sutherland
Dr Spock
Phil Silvers
Omar Sharif
Jimmy Stewart
Small Faces
Eric Sykes
Frank Sinatra
Tommy Steele
Del Shannon
Dusty Springfield
Sandy Shaw
The Searchers
Neil Sedaka

Helen Shapiro who provides the...

S Music:
Helen Shapiro singing You Don't Know

There must be more sweets but have I missed anything else?

If you're enjoying these memories then pop over and visit Anne Mackle's blog at Is Anyone There? for her A to Z Challenge about memories of the 1960s and 70s.


  1. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of post. I am glad that you simply shared with us. Thanks!

  2. Love your S memories, Ros. I used to go to school on a steam train.

    More Sweets: Cadbury’s Summer Fruits Chocolate bar, Strawberry Chocolate, Skippy Bar, Butter Snap, Spearmint Sticks, Flying Saucers

    TV: Sunday Night at the Palladium, Spot the Tune, 77 Sunset Strip, Six-Five Special, Strand Cigarettes (You’re Never Alone with a Strand), Shell Petrol,

    Radio: Snowy from Dick Barton, Harry Secombe, Sandy McPherson on the organ

    Magazines: Sunny Stories, School Friend, Swift

    Songs/Singers: Swinging on a Star, Sing Little Birdie, Dinah Shore,
    Jo Stafford, Anne Shelton,
    Stargazers (Rifka, do you remember “Twenty Tiny Fingers, Twenty Tiny Toes”?)
    Softly, Softly, Stranger in Paradise, Singing the Blues, Stairway of Love,
    Side Saddle, Shirley Bassey, Starry Eyed and Mystified, Sailor,
    The Shadows, Mike Sarne (“Come Outside”) Summer Holiday, Sweets for my Sweet,
    Sandie Shaw, Seekers, Sonny and Cher, Something Stupid,
    Peter Sarsted, Sugar, Sugar,

  3. Morning Ros, Wow what a long list of names - fantastic. Wonderful Spangles - loved them. Here are my S memories.......Long before the "Swinging Sixties" I was choosing my first pair of "Stillettos" - pink pearlized with long pointed toes, bag to match and a "Swagger" coat. On the radio was "Sing the Blues" by Tommy Steele, the Platters sung "Smoke gets in your Eye's" and "Softly Softly Come to me" by the husky tones of Ruby Murray. Other songs were, "Save the last Dance for me" by the Drifters and "Kay Starr" was singing her Rock and Roll Waltz.

    Films were: "Some Like it Hot" with the wonderful Marylyn Munroe, Jack Lemmon and another all time favourite Tony Curtis. "Silk Stockings" staring Cyd Charisse and not sure about this one but I think "South Pacific" first came out in the early 60's......... Really enjoying the nostalgia.

  4. I remember Five Boys Chocolate as the factory was just outside of Bristol where I lived,
    I remember all the TV and stars you mentioned, This is a great trip down memory lane.
    Loved every post.


  5. Hi Pat..... Ohhh yes I remember it well - "Twenty Tiny Fingers............." *singing*
    So many S memories.................
    Thinking about sweets - remember Dolly Mixtures?

  6. Dear Roz,
    I recognize most of the S names but you got me on the Sweets. I don't recognize one of them. I rarely had sweets when growing up.... perhaps just my mother's homemade pastries. The lack of sweets wasn't for health reasons, it was because there was barely enough money for the essentials. I never missed sweets and I still never eat them.

  7. Aaagh, my reply disappeared.
    Rifka, how could I have not mentioned stilettoes and swagger coats!
    Dolly mixtures - the 'swiss roll' shape were my favourite; I used to cut them in slices for my dolls.
    Sweet tobacco was yummy, but oh, those awful floral gums that tasted like soap.
    That reminds me, I think Sivikrin shampoo was new in the 50s.

  8. Stingray!Stingray! I can hear the theme tune in my head....adn I loved the tag line every week "Anything can happen in the next half hour"

    It's been the story of my life ever since!

  9. I use d that Leicester-London train; we used to pick it up at Manton junction. From 12-19 I went to school on a steam train every day so got used to the smell of them.

  10. I wasn't born until 1965 but that all sounds cool. And I didn't realize people were still rationing items until 1953. Wow!

    Anyway, I loved the train rides I had when I was in London, last September. Hoping to return this year or the next. I'll be taking the train from London to Paris and back.

  11. Hi Keira, glad you enjoyed it.

    Hi Pat, thanks once more for all these extra memories. Don’t you just love nostalgia!! I’ve been singing Twenty Tiny Fingers all morning now!

    Hi Rifka, I used to love your Swagger coat and you always managed to walk in the highest of stilettoes. I never could do that.

    Hi Yvonne, I’m glad someone else remembers Five Boys Chocolate. Mr A says he’s no memory of it and I can remember loving eating each boy’s head!

    Hi Manzanita, sorry you missed out on the sweets of childhood but I know that it’s a case of not missing what you’ve never had. Don’t you even eat chocolate? *gasps in amazement*

    Hi Bridget, I’d forgotten about that tag line. I guess there’s a lot of us who can identify with that!

    Hi Bob, it’s strange how we all lived with these smells. If we were dropped back in the 50s now we’d probably have to hold our noses.

    Hi Shelly, we’ve been on the Eurostar train too. I think you’ll find it’s a lot more comfortable and considerably faster than any of those old steam trains.

  12. Love this, especially the song which I've never heard before reading this post!

  13. I remember all the sweets, including the five boys, despite being, as we discussed on Twitter, a few years behind you! Until I was 5 we lived next to a railway bridge and I used to love being held up to watch the steam trains going underneath. There is cine film of me doing just that and then running along the station platform to meet my aunt and wee cousin who were coming for their holidays. Happy memories!

  14. I loved Frys five centre , what happened to it. I think Pat and Rifka should start a blog of their own they're so good at researching or they could come and help me. By they way Pat you can still buy dolly mixtures today.

  15. Aaagh, blogger is being silly again and won't let me comment.
    3rd try:
    Cassam, you can get Fry's Cream Centre bar again so maybe they'll do the five centre soon!
    Today's dolly mixtures aren't the same. Really, they aren't!
    I don't research really, they're all memories (but sometime I'll google a memory to check it's right).
    I think Rifka and I must be soul sisters separated at birth.

  16. I remember those licorice pipes! I also remember little wrapped treats called mojos - they were good :)

  17. Pat - soul sisters - what a lovely thought..... oh and I've had problems leaving comments today too!!!! Like you I use goggle to check a date and in my case how to spell a name........
    Hi Cassam - I'm hopeless when it comes to research - its mostly memories. The 50's was my time - I was there living and loving it all........
    I loved Frys Five Centre too - ohhhh can taste it now.

  18. Liquorice pipes, mmmmmmmm. *misses remainder of the post*

  19. I know quite a few of those Ss - even Del Shannon rings a bell - that'll be Dad's influence, I think.

  20. You have a few there that I don't recall, but a lot that I do. I used to love candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars. So politically incorrect these days I guess, but they were fun for us then.

    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog
    My Main blog is Tossing It Out

  21. Hi Ros, it's really interesting to read your recollections of how things used to be before I was born! All the best for the home stretch now!

    This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

    Duncan In Kuantan

  22. Hi Melch, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Hi Anabel, I used to love watching the steam trains go by. It’s just not the same these days... and thanks for the age-difference reminder!!! ;-)

    Hi Anne, I agree. I’m really enjoying Pat and Rifka’s comments.

    Hi Pat and Rifka, sorry you’re both having trouble commenting. You’re not alone. I think Blogger gets a bit over-used on a Sunday. Maybe we should start a campaign to bring back Fry’s Five Centres. Yum!

    Hi Jemi, we must have looked so funny ‘smoking’ our liquorice pipes.

    Hi D.J. another liquorice fan eh!

    Hi Annalisa, glad to hear your Dad’s got such good taste.

    Hi Arlee, no one had ever heard of political correctness. *sigh* The good old bad olds days!

    Hi Duncan, thank you for that comment. People seem to be determined to keep reminding me about my age but then I suppose I’ve asked for it seeing as how I can remember that far back. I was only a tiny baby in the 1950s though!

  23. Hi Ros .. we had thick fogs at Oxford and had fires at home .. I remember sweets being available .. ice-lollies in particular! Pear drops and liquorice .. and aniseed balls and gobstoppers .. delicious!!

    We used to use the little St Erth to St Ives branch line as a treat .. and we could watch the train when we were on the beach, or out on walks .. and yes we must have had steam trains for going to London - and those carriages ..

    The Saint (sigh!), Phil Silvers and Steptoe - great guffaws of laughter .. and lots of S names and songs ..

    Great remembrances - thanks - Hilary

  24. Just catching up. Must have missed this one the first time around. Lovely listening to Helen Shapiro. You've put a great AtoZ together.


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