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From story
Family Life in the 1950s
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Tea with the Watkins Family in the 1950s

This short film is a snapshot from daily life of a family in 1950s Yorkshire. It provides an idealised view of what life was like at the time, and provides a window into the technology available at the time (coal fired stove, wireless) and lifestyle (family sitting round together for tea, holidays at the seaside).

Note: This is an original 1950s footage and the visual quality of the film reflects that.

Note: A subtitled version of this film is available on YouTube

Film © Yorkshire Film Archive


Voiceover narration:

Now here on this pleasant street is where the Watkins family live. Joan is cutting flowers for the table. She loves to choose and arrange the flowers. Mr. Watkins always has many flower beds in his garden. It's one we like to look at as we walk along the street. In the kitchen Mrs. Watkins is buttering thin slices of bread for tea. She has the meal almost ready. Now at the stove she makes the tea. From the kettle she pours boiling water over the tea leaves in the pot. And then it's ready for the table.

In the dining room Mrs. Watkins has the table already laid. Is everything here? Yes. There's cold meat and tomatoes, bread and butter, jam and cake. It's six o'clock, time for tea!

Frank hurries in to switch on the wireless. But Tommy's eyes are all for the good things they are having to eat. [In the background the sports news can be heard on the wireless].

Father says he's on holiday next week and are they going to the seaside? 'Yes' Mother replies, 'grandmother is expecting us'. 'Ooh! Can I take Spot with me too?' asks Tommy. 'Of course' says Joan, 'who would feed him here?' Spot is in the back garden waiting patiently for his tea. But he doesn't have long to wait.