1. Matthew Wright

    Matthew Wright New Member

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    Advice on 1950s England

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Matthew Wright, Sep 10, 2017.

    Hello

    I'm currently in the process of developing an idea I've had for a novel. Nothing serious mind, this is mostly taken as a hobby.

    That being said, I was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some help on what could be key details regarding 1950's England as a potential setting.
    Specifically my focus would be on schools and the treatment of schizophrenia. However everything towards the overall setting is useful: such as dialect, clothing, and the like.

    Also, tips on generally how to research time periods for the purpose of writing would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time :)
     
  2. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    I'm sure there are board members who remember the decade, but I'm imagining not too many.

    For this kind of a thing the WWW will be able to tell you virtually all you need to know.

    It's the boring aspect of writing called research, and if you want the info on this kind of thing you have to do it the laborious way.
     
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  3. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    My immediate thought was World War II. Depending on where in England this is, I would imagine your characters will be seeing a lot of re-construction going on as workers rebuild what the Germans bombed into ruins during the war. I may be grossly mistaken, but wasn't there a general shortage of food and money due to the nation as a whole virtually bankrupting itself in the war? You'd have to look into that one.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Fortunately, your chosen period is well within the memories of people who lived then. If you have a specific question—by specific, I mean something that could be answered in a paragraph or two—I can relay it to a good friend of mine who grew up in Sheffield during the 1950s, and who remembers the blackouts, etc, during WW2.

    However, as @OurJud pointed out, you need to do your basic research yourself. There are many MANY memoirs written about the period, etc. You could start by checking them out.

    I got this page on Amazon.co.uk when I put 'memories England 1950s' into the search. This is just the first page. I'm sure there are a couple of books here that might get you started.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=a9_asi_1?rh=i:aps,k:memories+england+1950s&keywords=memories+england+1950s&ie=UTF8&qid=1505067301&tag=writingfor07a-20

    And there's this as well:

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=schizophrenia+England+1950s&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&dcr=0&ei=BYK1WdL7MuPW8gf1rpIQ

    Also watch movies that were made IN ENGLAND during the period that were contemporary to the period. These will be fairly reliable guides. Don't watch American-made ones, though. They nearly always got foreign stuff wrong. TV series are also pretty good sources. There have been many made recently in the UK that deal with the 1950s, and they'll give you a pretty good flavour.

    Research is fun, because it gives you all sorts of ideas you wouldn't have come up with on your own. But it's something you need to do yourself—and it will take time to get all the details you need. This from somebody who did most of her research before the internet was reliable. I had to rely on books, and they weren't easy to find. I live in the UK now, but was researching the American west at a specific period in time (and place.) It resulted in me building a HUGE library. I think research is a lot easier (and less expensive) now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
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  5. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Only to an extent, or at least that's my take on it.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I actually love it. :) I like that it opens up all sorts of avenues my story might take. It's like adding experiences to your own life. You start out with only what you know at the moment, but then you continue to acquire experience which makes for a fuller life. Research is just vicarious experience, really.
     
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  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    @jannert

    I suppose. I just find that I quickly give up and look for an alternative approach if I can't find the answer to my question in the first ten minutes.

    Might be why I'll never finish a novel for as long as I have a hole in my arse.
     
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  8. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    On the other hand, I'm another one who loves research and let me tell you, it can be a hell of a distraction from actually writing your book. I start looking for one thing and then click on related articles and the next thing you know, it's three hours later and I haven't written a thing. :D
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Awww. Maybe you just haven't encountered the 'right' subject yet. Okay, I'm grasping at straws, but hey....
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. It's as bad as bloody YouTube, isn't it? Can you just stop with the one thing you were looking for? I sure can't! Hours later : wha...where am I?
     
  11. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Me neither! If I decide to go forward with the plot bunny I have for me next book, I'm going to have to do a bunch of research and it'll probably take me a month before I can even start chapter one. Damn this curious brain of mine!
     
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  12. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks :D

    Unfortunately that's not the right straw. I simply lack the discipline and determination... and the skill, ability, mental strength, belief...
     
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  13. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe you need to do the kind of writing that doesn't require research? Or maybe have a stiff drink and take a break? :eek:
     
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  14. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Depends where you lived...big cities were still rebuilding (Coventry cathedral was consecrated in 1962 - started 1956, after a competition for the design in 1950) and to a certain extent still are - where I work (Birmingham) I can turn around and look at the old dairy (I think) still in ruins - it's being developed now...as a child in Shropshire, I saw none of this, although children's stories were full of kids playing on bomb sites - usually set in London.

    As far as food goes, rationing continued for a while after the war; 4 July 1954: Meat and all other food rationing ended in Britain
     
  15. Matthew Wright

    Matthew Wright New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your replies. It's a difficult thing to start off with having never done this sort of research before, and I do apologise if my initial post came across too specific.

    I have better understanding of where to go, I think it's just a matter of looking in the right places for certain aspects of the decade and not being bogged down by too many sites and sources at once.
     

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