Researchers at the Wealth Academy of Norwich and Keele have proclaimed that we were all much better off in 1959.
They analysed income, spending, housing, the cost of living, working conditions, health and citizen’s rights over the past 60 years and concluded that we were all much better off in 1959!
Income was lower but by today’s standards the average wage was the equivalent of £986 per week. The cost of living was cheaper, too, so a full grocery shop left you lots of money to spend on alcohol and cigarettes.
And people saved their spare cash for a “rainy day” – which was usually their old age. Although the pension back then was the equivalent of twice the pension nowadays, when people retired they wanted to go on cruises and buy a big house in France or Spain so their grandchildren could stay over when they visited.
Houses were much cheaper, too. The average house price in 1959 was only £427 which would be the equivalent of £27,543 today. That meant everyone owned their own home back in 1959.
The UK was still rebuilding after WWII so there were jobs for everyone, even the youngsters leaving school at 12. If you were “in between” jobs there was the “dole” to give you money till you found work. There were no “benefit cheats” as there are today, certainly not from abroad.
Mining was a burgeoning industry and workers were fighting to work there. The time it took to get to the coal face and back again meant you only worked about four hours a day.
Working conditions were better than they are today, too. Bosses would listen to workers’ grievances and did all they could to improve working conditions. When you had a job in 1959 you had a job for life.
Women had it far better then, too. They could work if they wanted – and earn the same wage as a man – or they could stay at home and do their nails. Their husbands would come home at the end of a week and hand over their pay packet, unopened.
The NHS was in full swing and although you had to sit in the doctor’s waiting room for your appointment, you could go any day and guarantee to be seen. There was none of the current three-week appointment malarkey or trying to persuade a stone-faced receptionist that you really are ill.
Back in 1959 citizen’s rights were better than they are today now that we’re part of the EU. You could call a spade a spade without getting arrested, you could protest outside Parliament without getting arrested and you could say and think pretty much what you damn-well wanted without getting arrested. There were no quislings back in 1959.
Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and he used to go round saying: “You’ve never had it so good.” And he was right. We even had crisps with little packets of salt in them!
Of course, it wasn’t all a bed of roses back in 1959. We actually had snow in winter, the telly was all in black and white and it was really frowned upon if you went around saying “fuck” in public.