Child's Eye View - A small boy holding a book and wearing safety reins. 1950. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

By Mark McConville


STUNNING retro pictures have revealed how the world looked for the children of the 1950s in the UK.

The incredible images show a small girl and boy looking in a shop window at dolls, a girl holding her parents’ hands and swinging as they walk and a small child wearing safety reins.

Child’s Eye View – A small girl holding parents’ hands and swinging. 1950. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

Other striking shots show a young girl telling a small boy off, a man lifting a child up onto the kerb and a boy sitting on a bin by a bus stop and crying.

Children in the 1950s had very different lives to young people today. Most left school much earlier, with many starting work at 14, and far fewer people had the chance to go on to further education.

Child’s Eye View – A woman carrying a small girl. 1950. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

The after-effects of the Second World War were still ongoing, for instance many goods were still being rationed in the early 1950s. Sugar was rationed until 1953 and meat only came off ration a year later.

Child’s Eye View – A young boy with curly hair looking upwards. 1950. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

Ordinary families had little spare money for treats like cinema trips and holidays. Before most homes had televisions, people spent their spare time listening to the radio or reading the newspaper; they played board games rather than computer games; and in place of the selection of fast food outlets we have to choose from, they had a takeaway from the local fish and chip shop.

Child’s Eye View – The back view of a man carrying a child under his arm. 1950. Mediadrumimages / TopFoto

The 1950s family home was also very different from our own. Housework was much more difficult, for example, people did their washing by hand, instead of in a machine, and with refrigerators being a luxury item for most people, food had to be bought daily. It was less common for married women to work and many took on the childcare and housework, while their husbands went to work.