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What we spent our pocket money on in the 50s

Posted on 26 February 2018

Saturday pictures and toys from Woolies

Despite the difficulties of day to day living after the war, we had a make do and mend attitude in the fifties and a positive outlook to the future. It was a great time to grow up, with seemingly never-ending days spent outdoors playing with nothing but our imagination.

Because of this, we didn’t need much pocket money back in those days. But when we were lucky enough to be given a shilling from Mum and Dad, how we spent it was completely up to us. Here’s some of our favourite ways that we used to spend our pocket money.

Sweets

boy being served in a sweet shop

The local sweet shop was the most magical place. So many jars, so much choice… how far would 6d stretch? We’d stand on our tippy toes to catch a glimpse of the ha’penny chews and sweet cigarettes on top of the high wooden countertop. If we bought a packet of ‘fags’, we’d pretend to smoke them all the way home.

Wimpy

the inside of a wimpy burger bar

It wasn’t burger and fries, it was Wimpy and chips! We spent hours sitting in the window looking out on the rain, relishing a knickerbocker glory washed down with a bottle of coke. Wimpy was the place to be and a real treat, even if our pocket money only got us a coke at times!

Toys

3 boys outside of a shop and one boy is holding a toy gun

We’d head down to Woolworths as soon as we had enough pocket money to buy a new toy. You’d almost have too much choice, picking between marbles, spinning tops, skipping ropes, kites or toy guns to play Cowboys and Indians - especially after we’d watched The Lone Ranger at the cinema.

Pictures

children watching a film at the cinema

Gangs of kids would hurtle down streets to the local cinema clutching enough pennies to get their ticket. The Saturday matinee was a club every kid in the area belonged to and was definitely more fun than Sunday school. Cheering the goodies, booing the baddies and gripping our seats watching Zorro, before standing up for the national anthem… Nothing beat the pictures on a Saturday.

Interval treats

usherette serving at the cinema during the interval

If we went to the pictures (or snuck in through the side), we’d hope to have enough pennies for some sweets or an ice-cream from the usherette between the film and cartoon. Fab lollies or Jubblies in the interlude got us through many a cliff-hanger.

At the fair

chairoplanes and helter skelter at the fairground

Everything about the fair was so exciting. The smell of candyfloss was magnificent, but the best bit was going on the swing boats, whizzing on the chairoplanes or whirling on the waltzers, and trying not to be sick! We’d stretch our pocket money as far as possible and head home after a long day of eating sweet treats and enjoying all the rides.

If this article took you back to simpler times and you’re in the mood for more, you may also enjoy these memories of a post war childhood, the 1950s home and earning your first bob as a kid.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

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Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). 

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

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