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.

What Kids Did Before The Internet

Being outside was a huge part of growing up. These kids, and their parents, knew how important that was. Wherever you lived, I am sure you will identify with this, as long as you are over forty!

Leap Frog.

Reading Comics.


Hoses in hot weather.

Riding bicycles.

Walking to and from school with a friend.

Hide and Seek.

Playing Jacks. (Or marbles)

Climbing unsupervised at the park or playground.

Pogo Sticks in the street.

‘Oranges and Lemons’.

Hopscotch in the road or school playground.


Postcards Of The 1960s: The Photos Of John Hinde

The postcards were produced in the 1960s by photographer John Hinde, a key figure in the development of the colour photograph as a postcard. Each photograph is innovative in its use of colour and stage-management. Shot with large format cameras, the production of these photographs was an extraordinary undertaking. Sometimes photographs could take a day and a half to get right. He used vibrant, highly saturated colours to depict a proverbially beautiful image produced to the highest standards.

It wasn’t just postcards of London that he produced. John Hinde was born in Somerset in 1916 and had always been interested in photography. During the 1940s he took photographs for many series of books, including ‘Britain in Pictures’ and ‘Garden in Colour’ and famously he photographed London during the blitz, which were used to illustrate ‘Citizens in war – and after’ published in 1945. After a short stint in Chipperfield’s Circus, and failing to make a success on his own, he started John Hinde Ltd in Ireland in 1956.

During the following 16 years, he and his studio of photographers travelled Great Britain, Ireland, and many European and African countries taking photographs to produce as postcards. When the company was sold in 1972, it was the world’s most successful postcard company with annual sales of over 50 million postcards.

All images are from John Hinde/John Hinde Collection/John Hinde Ltd)

The Bathing Pool at Ramsgate. A popular seaside holiday town in Kent.

Bottons Funfair, Great Yarmouth. A holiday town on the east coast, not far from Beetley.

Dublin Airport, Ireland. (Yes, people bought postcards of airports. Air travel was something exciting then.)

Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire. Created in the grounds of an ancestral stately home, this became a very popular attraction that still exists today.

Cars racing on a beach in Jersey. The Channel Islands have long been a popular tourist destination for British people.

Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland.

A caravan park in Pentewan Sands, Cornwall. I spent all my childhood holidays in Cornwall, and the county is still popular with holidaymakers today.

The Royal Festival Hall, South bank, London.

The Post Office Tower, London. This opened in 1965, and once had a revolving restaurant at the top. I took my first wife there for a birthday meal in the 1970s.

The Houses of Parliament at night, London.

A policeman on traffic duty.

Battersea Park Funfair, South London. (Now closed.)

The open-air paddling pool at Battersea park.

Some More 1960s Photos

There is no particular theme in these photos I found online. Most were taken in London, in the 1960s.

‘Beatlemania’. This was the line used by the newspapers to describe the hysterical fans of The Beatles in the early 1960s.

This policeman has his hands over his ears to block out the screaming.

Policemen outside Buckingham Palace can barely hold back the fans as The Beatles receive their MBE awards in 1965.

Smart young men pose to show off the new ‘Mod’ fashion.
I would be convinced that the tall one is a young David Bowie, but his head looks suspiciously ‘superimposed’. 🙂

‘Mod’ girls at the seaside, with their distinctive short hair.

Supermarkets were a new idea then, and attracted a lot of attention from the newspapers.
(This photo is from America, not England. Despite being in a ‘London’ set.)

A traditional ‘Sweet Shop’, with its smartly-dressed owner behind the counter.

Children crowd around an unusual ‘Bubble Car’, in 1961.
This one was a Messerschmitt KR200.

Two men in religious attire stroll through the red light district of London’s Soho.

Some More Random Historical Photos

Summer 1941. “Detroit, Michigan. Girls playing cards and drinking Coca-Cola.”
Photo by Arthur Siegel for the Office of War Information. This was part of a set showing these girls playing ‘Strip Poker’. As it was commissioned by the War Office, I can only presume it was intended to increase the morale of the troops. Even though it was before Pearl Harbour.

This lady is taking no chances. Having seen the sign, she is removing her high-heeled shoes. America, 1950s

A young woman seeing if a dress will fit her. London, 1960s.

An underage boy smoking in the street. Scotland, 1968.

Female drinkers in a Glasgow pub, 1960s.

A very trendy fashion model showing off the famous ‘Egg Chair’. 1960s.

An underground train passenger noticing the photographer. London, 1980s.

Excitable girls on an underground train. London, 1980s.

A man down on his luck, hoping to get money by selling matches. London, 1984.

A good time to be alive….

To accompany my post about 1960s fashion today, I am happy to reblog this marvellous memoir from Janet, with photos of her own life in the same period.

My Life as an Artist (2)

With my two friends Patrick and Maureen in front of the then newly constructed Commonwealth Institute in Kensington London…….now The Design Museum.

I posted this image on FB and Twitter this week with the added text saying ‘whata good time this was to be alive’. In this post I want to examine why so many feel this way.

I will be 77 years old tomorrow….which is a good time to re-examine life…

On my Lambretta scooter with Maureen on the back – Kensington London.

These pictures were taken in 1964 – when I was studying at Rochester Art College…..and only two years before I sailed for the United States…something I had no idea about at the time these pictures was taken.

Although I had not a clue where life would take me, at that time America was not in the cards!

It was to be the start…

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Swinging London In Photos: 1960s

During the 1960s, London was trying to become the new fashion capital of the world. It rebranded itself as ‘Swinging London’, and photographers were out on the streets taking photos of the new fashions, regularly using professional models too. This selection includes some styles that never caught on.

A man sporting the early ‘Mod’ look. Smart suit, and an Italian scooter.
(This was how I dressed at the time, but I was too young to own a scooter.)

Three young women shopping for clothes.
(Or a set-up by the photographer.)

A carefully posed group in very colourful attire.
(I think this might be the very early 1970s.)

Models in London wearing what almost appears to be a uniform.
(I don’t recall any ‘ordinary girls’ wearing such things.)

The famous model Twiggy, pictured with children and animals all wearing paper masks of her face.

Colourful dresses and berets posed by models.

Another model showing off a designer fashion.

This young lady was very on-trend.

Showing the fashion for wearing old military uniforms.

Taken to show ‘ordinary’ young people trying their best to be fashionable.
(And failing.)

Nearer the end of the 1960s, the trend for Eastern clothing began to emerge.

Fashionable London: 1967

This colour film from the 1960s has been remastered into very good quality video. It was filmed at various trendy locations and shopping districts, as well as some famous tourist sites. Obviously intended to show the new fashions of the day, and the contrast with the older people who were still dressed as if it was the 1950s. It’s an easy watch of around 8 minutes.