What’s been going on: episode one

It was a Friday 21897 days ago. 322,000 babies were born that day.

  • Saying of the year: “Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse” (James Dean)
  • Dwight D was in the White House
  • Heroin was finally criminalised on 1st January
  • Britain’s first Berni Inn Steak House opened
  • The Melbourne olympics were on
  • Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean disappeared from the UK and emerged in Moscow
  • Archbishop Makarios was deported from Cyprus to the Seychelles
  • Anthony Eden was PM and Macmillan was chancellor – he launched Premium Bonds
  • ‘Love Me Tender’ came out
  • Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft
  • Britain’s first nuclear power plant at Calder Hill was opened
  • The Soviets were in Hungary, Khrushchev visited Britain
  • The average house price in Britain was £2002. In 2016 it is £206,346 (103 times). The average salary was £786, in 2016 it is £27,500 (34 times)
  • There was petrol rationing because of Suez
  • Third class rail was abolished
  • Fats Domino was in the US charts at number 2 and Elvis had ‘Hound Dog at number one in the UK
  • Segregation on buses in Alabama was ruled unconstitutional
  • Videotape was first used on TV, Granada TV launched in Manchester
  • Someone babysat Andy, Helen and Richard while June went into labour
  • George was working for The Iron and Steel Corporation of Britain, later nationalised. They employed 268500 people at the time.

Did the sun shine?  Was everyone feeling optimistic?  How do we see the world we entered, and does it bear any relationship to this one? What happened that shaped us? Did that then make me what I am now? Which axons grew and which synapses started firing because of all that? Did I somehow start the clock according to James Dean’s motto? Was the brave new world that 1956 heralded formative in my always looking to the future?


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