Remembering 1955

Hall Lee Bank Park in 1955

Hall Lee Bank Park in 1955 Buy this photo

First published in Looking Back The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by

THIS week we are taking a look at 1955 — a year of extremes.

Here in Bolton, and beyond, we are suffering from extremes of weather. The winter was extremely cold and the summer baking hot.

The Bolton Evening News was giving advice, in July, to readers suggesting how they could keep cool at home — apparently making a room look cool would make it feel cooler, according to our report.

Having fewer items of furniture and rolling up fleecy rugs would make all the difference our reporter claimed.

There were demonstrations available of the new Hoover washer at Engineering Service Co in Market Street, Bolton. This machine could be bought for an initial payment of 10 shillings and then a weekly rental of seven and eight, and a three bedroom modern semi-detached home in Smithills was available for £1,800.

February saw a big freeze across Britain resulting in more than 70 roads being blocked with snow, and in some parts of the country rail services were cancelled for several days.

The Royal Air Force delivered food and medical supplies to the worst affected areas.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill resigned, due to ill health, at the age of 80.

In April national newspapers were published for the first time after a month-long strike by maintenance workers.

A polio vaccine was promoted in Britain by American virologist Dr Jonas Salk with the 500,000th person receiving it. In July it was recorded that unemployment stood at a low of just over 215,000 meaning that only one per cent of the workforce was jobless.

Ruth Ellis became the last woman to be hanged in the UK, on July 13. She was hanged at HM Prison Holloway for shooting dead David Blakely outside a pub in Hampstead, North London, on April 10.

Stirling Moss was the first English winner of the British Grand Prix and the Guinness Book of Records was first published in 1955. Before 1955 British children had never seen a fish finger, but in this year Clarence Birdseye first began selling the popular tea-time meal in this country. The 18-year monopoly of television by the BBC ended when the Independent Television Authority (ITV) was introduced. The first advertisement was for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

In this year Richard Baker and Kenneth Kendall became the first BBC Television newsreaders to be seen reading the news.

Princess Margaret called off her marriage to Group Captain Peter Townsend and Clement Attlee resigned as leader of the Labour party after 20 years. He was replaced by Hugh Gaitskell.

Cardiff was officially recognised as the capital of Wales.

In complete contrast to the harsh winter weather conditions there was a drought and summer heat wave in 1955.

Comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson was born in 1955 as was Scottish television presenter Kirsty Wark and talk show host Paul O’Grady.

Perhaps you have your own memories of 1955 you would like to share with us.

Do you remember eating your first fish finger in 1955 or what about watching television — do you recall seeing ITV for the very first time? If so get in touch with Gayle McBain on 01204 537269 or email gmcbain@thebolton news.co.uk with your memories?

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