Everyday Life in England During the 1950s-60s: The Photos Of John Gay

John Gay, born Hans Göhler (1909-1999), came to England in 1935. He was one of the generation of German emigres who made a contribution to British culture and academia. After a period of war service, he established himself as a leading photographer in the late 1940s and 1950s, illustrating magazines such as The Strand and Country Fair, publishing several photographic books and working with authors such as John Betjeman. His preferred themes included light and shade, animals and children, informal shots of ordinary people at work and leisure, landscapes and rural subjects, modern architecture, and London.

Morris Dancers performing in a rural town. (Probably for St. George’s Day)

Traditional fencing methods in the countryside.

A family skating on a frozen pond.

The Snowman resting on a bench.

This man is homeless, and living rough in the countryside during Winter.

A Buckinghamshire town in Winter.

A cake shop in Padstow, Cornwall. The girl is trying to decide which cake she wants.

A West Indian immigrant in a London Street Market. You can see from the face of the man that she attracted attention at that time.

Feeding the geese in a countryside village.

Urban living in North London.

A Poodle chauffeur.

Old lady walking through a rural town.

Christmas decorations in a Central London shopping street.

A Christmas street market in London.

Traffic at a standstill in North London.

Enjoying the rides at a Summer Fair in North London.

53 thoughts on “Everyday Life in England During the 1950s-60s: The Photos Of John Gay

  1. (1) Not just dancers, but Morris, no less!
    (2) My fencing methods include a lunge and a moulinet.
    (3) The local fish market keeps skates on ice.
    (4) The Snowman looks lonely. Surely he can melt a Snowgirl’s heart?
    (5) “I got this at Tent for Rent.”
    (6) Is that Rosemary’s baby in the pram?
    (7) If I lived in Padstow, choosing a dessert would be a piece of cake.
    (8) Notice the pig that escaped the London Street Market by climbing up a wall?
    (9) “Come on in! I’ll make you a pâté de foie gras!”
    (10) “I’m having better luck riding this tricycle than you are riding that broom!”
    (11) Overheard:
    Poodle: “Alors, on va où, monsieur?”
    Man: “A Dogdyke. C’est un village du Lincolnshire.”
    Poodle: “Mais vous vous foutez de ma gueule, non?”
    (12) “I remember when this town wasn’t even on the map yet.”
    (13) Hark, the Brighton Herald sings!
    (14) Meanwhile, James Bond is spending the day with Dr. Christmas Jones. (She’s good for what ails him.)
    (15) Traffic is always at a standstill in a photo. You need a video to show the traffic moving.
    (16) Sometimes it’s okay to rock the boat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. what a contrast what stories captured. Those Christmas lights above (& the London Regent St lights) now adorn Timaru & Palmerston North cities here. I will send you pics.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. The good life begins. How you’re a sage. Hope you’re in good health and able to enjoy this phase of life sir. My bro will be 71 this year and outruns me at 5k events. Live long n prosper by God’s grace sir

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember those double swings as a kid when my grandmother used to take me to the fair over at Vicky Park. That row of terraced houses reminds me of similar houses that were all around our prefab back in the 1960s.

    Liked by 1 person

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