Local Opinion – Hard Times: Prosperity in Post War Britain

Local Opinions

Our newest community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.


Increase in employment in Great Britain post WW2

The situation regarding employment was far more fluid in the late 1940s and 1950s when it was then seen as unacceptable for a working age man to be unemployed.

Jobs were more readily available then because there was a vibrant manufacturing economy, and an unemployed man at that time was perceived and regarded by others as being idle with lazy connotations attached to this state.

The Clement Attlee Labour government nationalized the railways and the coalmines, which helped to create many thousands of jobs.

Goods were then transported around Great Britain then at minimal costs to suppliers and customers by an integrated railway network.

Coal was mined to supply cheap fuel to users, where a horse and cart would often be used to supply domestic customers with a home coal delivery every week.

In addition, milk was delivered daily with a seven day weekly service to the doorstep by many dairy companies thus creating many jobs for people.

At the end of World War 2 several people continued to use allotments to supplement their food supply and this continued until well into the 1960s.

A major house building programme was inaugurated at the end of the war, creating both jobs in the construction industry and necessary homes for people.

Slum tenements were gradually cleared and new housing estates were built creating more employment in a buoyant housing market.

A booming car industry was established in the 1950s and 1960s where more affluent people could choose from a wide selection of British cars as an alternative means of transport to using the bus or train services.

The British people gradually began to leave the austerity of the war years behind them and domestic products such as vacuums and washing machines came onto the market.

It was Harold MacMillan, former Conservative Prime Minister who made a well-remembered statement ‘You’ve never had it so good’ to the British people.

However, many people still had the physical and mental demons of the previous world war to contend with and daily life often remained very hard.

The Conservative government remained in office for 13 years from 1951 until 1964 when Harold Wilson became the Labour Prime Minister.


Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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