English: Housewife by Wascator laundry machine

The retro look is definitely back in fashion.  Interior designers are turning back to the 1950s for inspiration when it comes to art, colors, and furniture, but would they like to actually live in those times?

Many of us dream of a simpler time, when it was possible to disconnect for a while, and not feel like you’re always connected to work thanks to the Blackberry, email, and social networking.  However, we forget about all of the other technological advances that we enjoy these days.  If we had to give up our Siemens appliances, electric showers, dehumidifiers, and zip taps, would we really be happier?

The Daily Routine

In the 1950s, people had to work a lot harder.  Husband and wife would both arise early.  The man of the house would leave for work while the woman would get the kids ready for school, and make a start on the housework.  1950s women were encouraged to take pride in their appearance, so there was no lounging around the house in slippers – instead, they would get fully dressed up, makeup and all, even if they had no plans for the day.

Housework would take up most of the day.  Between hand-washing clothes, cooking, cleaning, and dusting, the average housewife would burn a lot of calories!  The labour saving Siemens appliances of the modern day didn’t exist, so elbow grease and persistence did most of the work.

Daily chores would be broken up by a walk to the local greengrocers and butchers.  Convenience food wasn’t available, especially during the early 50s when rationing was still in place, so families lived on simple diets with a lot of home cooked food.  The average adult woman would consume around 1,800 calories per day, and burn a lot of those through hard work, so obesity was rare.

Few households owned a fridge, so food was bought fresh as it was needed.   Clothes washing was done by hand (as washing machines were even rarer than fridges), and even baths could be a chore – modern central heating and fancy zip taps were non-existent!

When the kids got home from school, and the husband arrived home from work, the family would enjoy a pleasant evening meal together.  After that, the children may be enlisted to help with the washing up, while the husband puts his feet up to relax after a hard day’s work.

Since there was no internet, and phone calls were an expensive luxury, most socialising happened either in shops, at the weekly coffee morning, or as door-step gossip.  In this respect, they certainly knew how to have fun in the 1950s.  Rations, hard work, and limited luxuries were offset by resourcefulness and creativity when it came to socializing.

For many households, bed time came early in the 1950s.  After a hard day’s work, or a day spent busy with housework, or at school, people were tired when night-time came.  Instead of spending the night watching TV or playing on the computer, it was normal to be in bed by 10PM.

Returning to the 50s?

Could you go back to the 1950s?  Certainly, the more active lifestyle had some benefits, but the convenience of modern day life, and the ability to spend more time pursuing our hobbies, has benefits too.  What do you think?

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of The Kitchen Appliance Centre, who offer state-of-the-art kitchen gadgets including zip taps and Siemens appliances for the 21st Century house wife (or house husband!).


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