No television. No internet. A bacon sandwich a rare luxury. How would you cope in 1950s Orpington? (From This Is Local London)
Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
No television. No internet. A bacon sandwich a rare luxury. How would you cope in 1950s Orpington?
A MAN who grew up in 1950s Orpington has documented his childhood memories in a new book that illustrates how vastly different life was 50 years ago.
Michael Proom was born in 1943 and grew up in Stanley Road, experiencing a world without television and the internet, where everything from tea to milk to bacon and ham was severely rationed.
The 70-year-old, who now lives in Devon, believes his book, Orpington 127, appeals to old and young alike.
He said: "I know it chimes with people of my age and they are all saying the same thing: this reminds me of what happened to me.
"But I think it also talks to society today, for better or worse we live in the world we live in but I don't think people are aware how much this nation has changed in the last 50 years."
The book covers the first 21 years of Mr Proom's life, and he admits with age he has become increasingly keen to share his experiences of youth.
He said: "I think it's my advancing years, looking back at what my life has been like to date.
"In the last few years my wife's mother has died, my own mother has died. It's left me wanting to make a mark.
"Interestingly though, what started off as a straightforward autobiography has become an overview of the 1950s.
"And for most young men of my age life was quite different back then."
The book includes numerous anecdotes, including a discussion of Mr Proom’s first day of school, at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar, in September 1954.
He said: "Everyone was a new boy that day - the building had only been completed days before.
"How much do you think it would cost today to build an entire school, with 19 classrooms, 700 boys, three science Labs, a fully fitted gym, a dining hall that could seat 350? £15 million? £20 million?
"In 1954 the total bill came to just £300,000 - the cost of building a large private house today. How's that for devaluation?"
Orpington 127 is available here. 50 pence from each purchase goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Comments are closed on this article.