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There must surely be a television in almost every house-hold in Britain. In fact, I think many homes will have more than one.
They are in the sitting-rooms; huge, 40 inch, flat-screened things, often mounted high on a wall, dominating the room.
They are in kitchens; smaller, but still flat, on a work-top or even fitted into a cupboard door.
They are in the bedrooms of both children and adults. The kids now watch their own programmes, there seems to be no parental control. …………… Quite a difference to when I used to listen to Radio Luxemburg on my tinny little transistor radio; scuttling under the covers at the sound of my parents on the landing outside my bedroom door. I was supposed to be asleep and would have been severely admonished had I been discovered. Nowadays, the kids are positively encouraged to “go to your room and watch TV”.
Yes, televisions are everywhere; they are part of everyday life; taken for granted; no big deal.
But, its not really so long ago that they were a very expensive, luxury item. A novelty, a thing of wonder. Many homes didn’t own one and envied those that did.
They had tiny screens, housed in huge, polished wooden cabinets. A ‘proper’ piece of furniture, occupying a corner of the sitting-room. I remember Nora, our next-door neighbour, used to polish hers daily and drape a lace table-cloth over it, when it wasn’t in use.
The televisions of days gone by were, of course, only black and white; colour wasn’t even dreamed of and they took ages to ‘warm up’, when switched on.
The programmes started with ‘Children’s Hour’ at around 5pm and then stopped, with an ‘Interval’ to enable the children to be “put to bed”. Then there were 4 hours, or so, of other ‘grown-ups’ programmes before the network ‘closed down’ for the night…..after playing the National Anthem, of course !
Whole families would huddle around the small screen. Sometimes, less fortunate neighbours would be invited to join in the viewing. Watching TV was a privilege, not a ‘right’.
Today’s photo shows a television from the early 1950s ……………………………
Can you imagine watching that today ……………….. ?
The television in the photo is part of an exhibition in the “Museum of East Yorkshire and Rural Life” which is housed in Skidby Windmill.