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The day when the sun always shone.

THIS year it seems that, what with the credit crunch and poor exchange rates, many more of us will be spending our holidays in this country.

Do you remember when that was the only option and when, for working class people, there was only the 'club trip' to look forward to? Back in the 1950s the annual club trip was the highlight of the summer, unless you were lucky and your family could afford to stay at a seaside boarding house.

The club trip was usually something that was organised by the works, church, social or workingman's club. Subscriptions would be collected all year to provide transport and refreshments for the grand day out.

On the day, before the coaches arrived, the club committeemen would hand out a shiny half crown (13p) to each of the children.

Once everyone was settled down, the coaches would start off and the singing began. Typical were Ten Green Bottles and One Man Went To Mow, so everyone could join in, because that was what the trip was all about - everyone joining in and making sure that everyone had a good time.

The coaches would pull up on the Esplanade at Redcar and they all piled out with children making for the first place that sold buckets and spades. Then it was down to the beach where rows of large green tents were already set up, waiting.

It was in these tents that mums and dads would set up their hired deck chairs and it was also the place where the kids could get changed.

Lunchtime offered the opportunity to have a look around the seaside shops, which was one of the reasons why Redcar was the most popular destination. There, the half crowns would be spent on candy kippers, rock, or inflatable beach balls, and bathing rings.

The afternoons would be spent playing on the beach - I say playing, but it was usually so crowded that there was no room for organised sport like cricket, so running in and out of the sea provided most of the fun.

Around five o'clock it was time to leave. Everyone chatted away on the journey home, telling each other that this trip was the best ever and looking forward to next year.

You would sit on the coach as a kid, still with the sand clinging to your toes in your shoes while you sucked on your candy kipper. If you'd been lucky enough to find a seashell you'd put it to your ear to 'hear' the sea.

Such were the modest and innocent pleasures for many ordinary working folk back in the Fifties' ... when the sun always shone.

Those Radio Times Gillian S wrote: Although I was very, very young in the 1950s I recall the radio at my Nana's house. I recall the noise it made when it had to be tuned in. There was one program that my other Nana used to adore, called Sing Something Simple. It was on Sunday evenings early. Also, the requests for records to be played for the armed forces out in Germany and I recall "a song for BFPO so and so.....".

Corpus Christi Kitty wrote: This certainly brought back a lot of happy memories. When I was a little girl we had Corpus Christi processions.

Everyone was wearing their best clothes, and the girls wore white dresses with blue sashes. Is it just a fond memory of when life was less complex, and people in the neighbourhood cared about one another? Barbara Yafano wrote: This brought back many fond memories of both the Corpus Christi processions and the St Mary Cathedral and School, which I attended. Seeing these pictures has made me realise what a brilliant place it was to live and how sad society has become; so indifferent. My childhood seemed a lot simpler, but happier in comparison to today's society.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2009
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