Summer of 1976 wedding

We celebrated our forty second wedding anniversary last week and these scans of our wedding cards surfaced when I was searching on my hard-drive for photos of the big day.

They’re a lovely souvenir of the 1970s and a beautiful day for a wedding in the glorious summer of 1976.

 We received some congratulatory telegrams as well. Telegrams?????

The style of 1976 telegrams was a tad more jolly than those sent to my parents for their wedding in 1950.

wedding telegram 1950 2wedding telegram 1950

But I think the wedding cards sent in 1950 are lovely, don’t you?

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

You might also like this blogpost I wrote for my Cabbage and Semolina blog when it was our Ruby wedding.

Book of the Day



Motorcycle Football 1959 #1950s

motor cycles 1950s


I wonder why this didn’t catch on?

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If you’re reading this blog post up to 29th June 2018, you can get a FREE copy of “Magnificent Britain” by Michael Murray from Amazon. Just click the link at the bottom of the previewer.

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Visiting London in the 1950s


This film clip of a drive round London in the 1950s is a little gem. The film has been enhanced and stabilised and has a lovely piano accompaniment.

Apparently the route is:

Kensington High Street

Allen Street

Abingdon Street

Phillimore Gardens

Upper Phillimore Gardens

Kensington High Street

Argyll Road

Phillimore Gardens again.

In the 1950s my family went on a visit to London. We stayed for three nights in a B&B in South Kensington.

We did all the sights and had a day at London Zoo where we saw the famous Chimps Tea Party. Four chimpanzees were taken by their keepers to sit at a picnic table and drink tea and eat sandwiches, cakes and lollipops. The highlight, of course, was when one of the chimps drank straight out of the teapot. The chimps didn’t seem to mind being the source of so much public amusement and at least they weren’t wearing dresses which was what happened when you saw chimps at the circus.

We went to look at Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament which we recognised from the H.P. Sauce bottle.

HP sauce
image credit: By ChrisDC62 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, from Wikimedia Commons
We went to see the Tower of London and threw pennies to the mudlarks at the foot of Tower Bridge; admired lots of paintings in the National Gallery; fed the ducks in St. James’ Park and the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. We also paid our respects to the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey.

In the summer of 1965 we visited London again. This time to the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. The excitement of London now that it was Swinging was even greater than before. We had a day ticket and caught the train from Peterborough railway station and were in the capital a couple of hours later.

Our dad decided that our education would benefit from an immersion in art and we spent much of the day in the National Gallery. The highlight of the visit was seeing the Leonardo Cartoon which had been purchased a couple of years earlier by the gallery after a well-publicised appeal for donations.

Leonardo cartoon
image credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Then after a brisk walk round St James’ Park and a Lyons Corner House for something to eat and we headed to South Kensington for the concert.

The programme for the concert was:

Neville Marriner directing the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in a Handel concerto. The premiere of Michael Tippett’s piano concerto conducted by the composer with John Ogden as soloist. After the interval Malcolm Sargent conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers in a performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

At the time we loved The Planets and didn’t mind the Handel. However we hated the Tippett and couldn’t wait for it to finish. Listening to it again over fifty years later, I’ve enjoyed it!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You can read more of my memories from the 1950s and 60s in Cabbage and Semolina and Jam for Tea available in ebook for Kindle and paperback.

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Afternoon Tea, Sunday Tea and a very fine teapot.


I got a bit carried away yesterday with #NationalTeaDay and downloaded some interesting images for tweeting.

This oil-painting is by artist Yehia Dessouki, an Egyptian painter and visual artist making contemporary art using diverse kinds of media both traditional and digital.

Image credit: By Artist Review [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.

Afternoon Tea (1905)  by Isidore Verheyden, a Belgian painter of landscapes, portraits and still life.

Image credit: Isidore Verheyden [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Afternoon Tea: Rhymes for Children by J. G. Sowerby and H. H. Emmerson. London: Frederick Warne & Co., 1880.

Image credit: By John George Sowerby (1850–1914) and Henry Hetherington Emmerson (1831–1895) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1950s, Sunday Tea was always the same.

The best cups and saucers came out of the cupboard along with the starched, white tablecloth and the two-tier cake stand.

Slices of buttered white bread and Hovis; a salad made up of one or two lettuce leaves, a few slices of cucumber and bottled beetroot and two quarters of a tomato; a lump of tinned salmon (preferably John West’s) with the bones picked out and the skin removed; half a hard-boiled egg; and a shake of Heinz 57 Varieties salad cream. For afters: tinned fruit in syrup with Carnation evaporated milk which always curdled if poured over tinned pineapple; fruit scones; sponge cakes; and tea with sugar and a splash of milk.

It was the same if we went to visit our relatives on a Sunday. Whichever aunt, great-aunt, granny or friend of the family we went to see the identical tea was served; only the patterns on the cups and saucers were different.

But the amazing thing is that my husband, who grew up at the other end of the country, had the same Sunday Tea as well. And he says it was exactly the same when they went to visit their relatives too.

The only difference between my family and his was that our cakes were home baked and his came from a baker’s shop. And he says they had custard on their tinned fruit.

Did everyone have this meal in the 1950s? Was it replicated from John O’Groats to Land’s End? Were there any regional variations? Not much difference between the West Riding of Yorkshire and the East End of London if our experience is anything to go by. And has anyone else, apart from us, continued the tradition?

(From Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood © C Murray 2015)

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Remembering the Nuffield Maths Project #1960s

British primary school teachers of a certain age will probably recognise the image that heads up this post.

I have very fond memories of this and the other teachers’ guides in the series.

But I’d forgotten the books completely until I read Mathematics: Set theory for six-year-olds in “Nature: the International Journal of Science”. Not that I read that august journal on a regular basis. A friend in USA had posted a link on Facebook to an article in the journal and set theory for six year olds was in the “you might also like column” in the sidebar of the website.

The article made for fascinating reading and provided an interesting context to a project which I’d always thought was peculiarly British. Now I know different!

Starting in the mid-sixties, the Nuffield Mathematics Project presented a new approach to learning mathematics for children aged 5–13. The project built on children’s own experience and encouraged them to think for themselves. Stop and read that sentence again!

Think for themselves. What a novel idea!

The project focussed on how children learn rather than what to teach. The key concept was understanding not rote learning.  One of the introductory guides was actually entitled “I do and I understand”.

Attributed to Confucius:

I hear and I forget 

I see and I remember 

I do and I understand

was the teaching mantra of the Swinging Sixties. Not everyone is convinced though.

There’s more information about the maths project on this page of the Nuffield website. But the books seem to have become very rare. There’s a second-hand copy of “Shape and Size” available on Amazon for 70p and “Beginnings” is on Ebay for £7.49.

2Nuffield Maths

You can also get “Shape and Size” on Ebay for £7.49 but that seems to be it. So if your old college copies are in the loft or garage they might be good for topping up the pension!

3Nuffield Maths

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