No business exists in a vacuum. Many things remain outside our control. But we need to be aware of the wider picture. This is the first blog of a series examining the reasons for our present economic state.
The Immediate Post War- An Era of Enterprise
Born in the deep freeze of February 1947 as part of the post war baby boom, I grew up in a typical Lancashire town full of cotton mills,engineering works and coalmines. Industrial chimneys adorned the skyline and clean air regulations still a thing of the future. I woke every morning in an unheated bedroom to the siren of the local mill, where many still worked 12 hours a day-some even 7 days a week.
By 1952, we still had rationing and “under the counter” tins of salmon (yes tinned salmon was a treat in those days).
But things had begun to improve. The devastating physical destruction of the war meant only one to go. Up!
For me, the most poignant sign was the gradual re- introduction of colour into life. The Coronation saw us acquire our first television. A 14 inch from Radio Rentals – rented of course in case it went wrong! (as televisions frequently did in those days!). Then came the washing machine, the refrigerator and, a little later, a second hand Morris Minor with divided windscreen. This was followed by a new one without divided windscreen. And let’s not forget the annual Wakes holiday and heydays of Butlins and Pontins.
And so, we were climbing the ladder. “Ordinary” people achieving (in a modest way) what had been preserved for the rich. And all on one wage! It was simply “not done” for wives to work.
Despite continuing austerity, a definite air of optimism pervaded. Full employment, full order books (we even had to import labour) and a government building programme that achieved its goals (despite wartime bankruptcy).
And so it continued throughout the fifties and much of the sixties.
But was it all rosy? Of course not! Underlying the air of optimism, problems remained –all waiting to rear their heads in succeeding decades.
My Next Blog – a look at the outmoded industrial machinery and working practices