Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A Genteel Blast From The Past

I don't buy many magazines ... well , I don't buy any magazines , really ... out of sheer meaness , I'm afraid . But when I see a vintage one , I leap on it like a duck on a June bug .

A September 1950 Wife and Home I found the other day has provided endless enjoyment this week ..

The Editress' Personal Page had a few lines  on
 "an up to date idea which is now operating might be called a 'help yourself '  laundry.... with efficient washing machines and  'extractors ' which removed surplus moisture " . I haven't seen a laundrette in years ... even student flats can run to a washing machine these days .

There's a pattern for a delightful ( a very popular adjective in 1950s  women's magazines , along with dainty , though not for boys ,obviously  ) knitted suit for a little boy .

Our Babies' Club with photos of readers'  'wee ones' , each one chubbier than the last . I can relate to that ... I was the fattest  'wee one'  in the world at the end of the '40s  ...

An article on beauty routines when you're pregnant ... sorry , " in those days of expectancy  " , including a reminder to drink three large glasses of barley water a day , which apparently will keep you radiantly healthy from your glossy hair to your sensibly shod feet  . And perhaps help you to breathe inside your wasp-waisted maternity dress ...

An article by a Woman Doctor and a problem page with answers from Matron ...
 "chronic cattarh can be cured by instilling a few drops of cod-liver oil in each nostril , twice a day for two weeks " ( maybe not if you've got morning sickness , though ? )

Another on how to furnish the nursery on a budget ... everything from a utility playpen to coconut matting  , not forgetting a Victorian washstand with  shortened legs  ( the writer seems a demon with the hacksaw )  as a nursery table  and gallons of pale green liquid lino paint , all for 10 Pounds . Just in case you ever need to know , I'll pass on her tip about cheap curtains . Apparently if you wash your old black-out curtains they lose their colour and are "much more attractive" ...(  streaky grey ? )

There's a bizarrely dated serial set in India which has sentences like ,
"but then I was running , running as no white person should in the heat , across the compound ",
... I wondered if my great-grandmother ,  her mother or grandmother had ever felt compelled to run across a compound and then remembered that g-grandmother's grandmother , as a Keralan , would presumably have been heat-proof .

But , as always , it's the ads. that fascinate ;
Lixen , " The good-natured laxative ." ( a bad-natured one doesn't bear thinking about )

Mansion Hygienic furniture polish , Dettol and T.C.P. , corn cures and children's cooling powders .

Robin starch ... because  'starched clothes stay clean longer'  AND , more importantly ,  'Nothing does more to make you desirable than that air of untouched , crushable freshness .'

ThreeFlowers face powder to stop the destruction of your self -assurance that a shiny nose can cause .

 Lee & Perrins Worcester sauce to "add subtlety to salad " ( 2 tsps. of it in the dressing  , mind you , might just wilt the lettuce before you get to the table . )  and Handmade Children's felt Bonnets 8/6 post free .

But , for me , the change between then and now was crystallised by this  Weetabix ad . 

Compare it to the boast on their 2016 packets !

Wish I could do a taste-test . Does anyone remember exactly how sweet it used to be ?

Altogether this turned out to be a jolly good 1.50 Euros worth  !


English Rider said...

Well worth the money. Thanks for sharing.

rachel said...

Good fun, recapturing the magazines that informed my childhood! Although I'm not sure whether to laugh or weep at the desirability of having "untouched, crushable freshness".

And then along came feminism.......

Vicki Lane said...

What fun! I love that sort of glimpse backwards. I have read and re-read a Twenties era Emily Post and one of my treasures is a Forties-ish handbook for Army officers' wives.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

That's hilarious! I'm now off to stick some cod liver oil up my nose, saw the legs off a washstand and knit a delightful boy's baby suit. If I have time I might run across a compound as no white woman should.

Liz Hinds said...

It sounds fascinating! We still have a launderette near us. But now i am thinking about a bad-natured laxative.

Pam said...

No doubt we'll be just as hilarious to future generations... I've just bought some bound copies of Good Housekeeping for 1925, which are equally unbelievable. I was born in 1950 and it seemed quite normal at the time.

shandy said...

Really enjoyed revisiting the 50s through this magazine. Mind you, I used to buy "Woman's Weekly" for the three knitting patterns each week, and it kept a fairly staid vibe going right through the 80's.