1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    England in the early 70s

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Gannon, Sep 19, 2008.

    I have some questions for those that may have lived, or were schooled, in England during the ealry 70s. Your help please if you can offer any.

    Schooling

    1) Were the majority of primary school teachers male or female?
    2) What qualifications were needed (if any) for primary school teaching during this period? Similarly for schooling prior to primary, i.e. modern day 'reception classes'.
    3) Were prefabricated classrooms already in use, such as the portakabin / portacabin style annexes present in many modern schools?
    4) Did all primary schools have uniform? Were they pastel-shades of flannel as I imagine?

    General

    4) What vehicle would be appropriate to carry a local school trip of around 14 passengers, such as the ubiquitous modern-day mini-bus?
    5) What sort of injuries could one realistically expect if kicked (hard) by a horse?
    6) Were fireworks more or less the same as the modern-day in terms of variety and availability? Were public displays common?
    7) Would it be likely that a single, middle-aged man would consume a diet of tinned goods, if he was not adept in the kitchen? What sort of products were common?
    8) Would generic, local 'bitter' be the most likely tipple of our single, middle-aged man?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. I'm also looking into these points at the moment and may well feed back on the site if I turn up anything interesting.
     
  2. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great questions Gannon. I am from the USA so I can't answer specifically for England, but I suspect our two countries were not too far different at that time. So, here are my answers based on raising my own kids during that era.

    I don't know how much of this information is common to England. I've heard about your legendary pubs and fish'n chip places but I don't know how many fast food choices you had back then. I don't think it would be too difficult to research that. Also, many of these cheap'n easy food choices depended on where you lived. If you lived far outside main cities, you could still purchase the "packaged goods" like cold cereal, pastries, Top Ramen, but your drive-through food choices would be restricted. That's a point to consider if your character makes a "field trip" into the countryside. Familiar fast food choices might suddenly vanish . . . even in a modern day setting!
     
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  3. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks NaCI - some great answers there that will defintely be of use. Your response to number three is particularly interesting, not so much for my story but rather more generally. Reagrding uniform I think there will be a difference between the UK and the US because I think there was uniform as there was widespread in the 60s and there continues to be so today, so it's unlikely it was dropped in the middle. I remember one anecdote my father told me about his first day at primary school. He had a grey, flannel cap as part of the uniform at the normal state school, which he and other trouble-makers duly skimmed into the river at the end of day one.

    With regards to food also there will be some major differences, small-town UK will not have has many, if any, fast-food type outlets during this period. It is possible that a fish and chip shop could supplement my character's diet for sure. Though the modern-day and ubiquitous Chinese or Indian take-aways would not have existed, neither McDonalds or Pizza Hut et al. Certainly not in small-town UK. As such I envisaged that the character would be eating meet in a tin, such as SPAM, vegetables in tins, pies in tins for the oven (if they yet existed) and tinned pudding and fruits. Some further research of my own will yield results on this one. Though cereal as you mention would have been readily available.

    With regards to beer, further research will again yield personal results but none of the American brands will have made it to the UK by that time. There will have been national brands I imagine, but I think it will entirely be limited to bitter, as I don't believe lager type beer would have yet been popularised.

    Thanks again - any one elses viewpoint also welcomed.
     
  4. Sayso
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    Sayso Contributing Member

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    I was around in the mid to late seventies so I don't know if this will be of any help or not.

    Most of the teachers that I can remember were female. It was quite rare to have a male teacher though you may have had a head master more than mistress. I have no idea what qualifications would have been needed back then so I'll leave that bit to you to find.

    I'd say a definite yes for the porta-cabins as classrooms. The main assembly would always be in the main hall with a mad dash through the rain to get back to the classroom. They would have been in a good condition back then too!

    In infant school (not many people called it primary) there was no set school uniform or even colour scheme. Pupils wore whatever they wanted. Back in those days it was horrible orange and brown, those sorts of clashing colours.
    Tank tops were the fashion (and yes I had a red knitted one - tell a soul and you're done for!)
    Short A-line skirts for the girls and flared trousers or shorts for the boys.
    Long socks for either.
    Polo necked jumpers.
    Knees on trousers would have been patched if holes were worn through.
    Long collars on shirts that would often get chewed.

    I don't ever remember going on any school trips back then so I'm of no use to you there.

    The fireworks displays were pretty much the same but without all of the safety measures you see today. There would have been no rope keeping people away from the bonfire and you'd have your rockets, catherine wheels and sparklers. There'd usually be a fish and chip van on site for the occassion. I would say that fireworks were easier to get hold of back then. Although there was an age restriction, they were more commonplace in a lot of shops. Safety wasn't so much an issue back then.

    Beans on toast has always been a good'un. Spam was a favourite too and maybe something more adventurous like scrambled egg on toast. Mashed potato, sausages and marrowfat peas. Fast food outlets would have been fish and chips. Chinese takeaways have always been around so long as I can remember but most definitely not MacDonalds or Burger King. They've only arrived down here in the last ten years or so and were kept to bigger cities.

    Can't help you with the bitter one either. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
     
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  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks Sayso - some good points there too which I'll incorporate for sure. And thanks for the pointer regarding 'infant schools' rather than 'primary' - you are of course correct. This had slipped my mind, despite attending one.

    The fashion advice is particularly useful - I struggle with dress terminology as it tends to date a piece fairly accurately. Wouldn't want to get that wrong!
     

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