Step back in time: to 1955

Take a trip down memory lane with a nostalgic look back at life in 1955

This is a year marked by shifts in leadership and further advances to home life.

Televisions are now in more family homes than not and listening to music and watching movies are popular pastimes for people all over the country.

So grab a cuppa and step back in time with us to 1955..

Popular Culture

Popular Culture offers a glimpse into the lives of people and the big and little things that made up the everyday. Here’s a snapshot of life and pop culture in 1955.

In response to the new commercial broadcasting station, ITV, BBC Radio dramatically kills off its character Grace in a fire on the Archers in an effort to lure back audiences.

26 September – Clarence Birdseye begins selling frozen fish fingers in Britain for 1 shilling  8 pence, a product that still remains popular with families to this day.

The average house price in Great Britain in 1955 is just £1,928.

At the cinema: Rebel Without a Cause, the Lady and the Tramp, The Seven Year Itch, To Catch A Thief, The Dam Busters and The Constant Husband all debut in cinemas.

The Pop Art Movement, made famous by Andy Warhol, is developed in London in the mid 1950s.

Wimpy, the country’s first burger chain, opens its first hamburger restaurant in London.

27 August – Guinness Book of Records is published for the first time. The project is the brainchild of Guinness Brewery chairman Sir Hugh Beaver, who came up with the idea for a records book in 1951. The book is an immediate best-seller and one of the most popular Christmas gifts that year.

4 September – Richard Baker and Kenneth Kendall become the first BBC Television newsreaders to be seen reading the news.

J. R. R. Tolkien publishes The Return of the King, third and final part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

World Events

1955 wasn’t just an important year in Britain. Here’s a look at some of the most significant events that took place in 1955 around the globe. 

22 September – New television station ITV launches in Britain for the first time.

13 July – Ruth Ellis becomes the last woman to be hanged in Britain. Executed for the wilful murder of her lover, David Blakely, the case caused widespread controversy.

Princess Margaret announces she will not marry divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend. Their engagement caused enormous controversy as the Church of England refused to countenance the remarriage of the divorced. Prominent public figures, including the Prime Minister, all opposed the marriage and it did not receive The Queen’s consent. In breaking off the engagement, Margaret issued the statement: “I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. I have been aware that, subject to my renouncing my rights of succession, it might have been possible for me to contract a civil marriage. But mindful of the Church’s teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before others. I have reached this decision entirely alone, and in doing so I have been strengthened by the unfailing support and devotion of Group Captain Townsend.”

14 May – The Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies sign the Warsaw Pact, an agreement which integrated military, economic and cultural policy between the eight Communist nations.

1 November – The United States begins its involvement with the Vietnam conflict when the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (M.A.A.G.)  arrives in South Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese military.

Sporting Moments

From big upsets to big wins, here are some of the most significant moments to take place in sport in 1955. 

23 April – Chelsea F.C., are Football League First Division champions and England’s first entrants into UEFA’s new European Cup.

7 May – Newcastle United win the FA Cup for the sixth time, with a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.

17 July – Stirling Moss becomes the first English winner of the British Grand Prix at Aintree Motor Racing Circuit.

Famous Births

Some big personalities came into the world in 1955. Here’s a few of the famous faces born this year.



Nothing takes us back like music; these were some of the best-selling artists and most popular songs on the radio in 1955. 

Best selling single of the year: Tennessee Ernie Ford, Give Me Your Word [7 weeks at number 1]

Christmas number 1: Dickie Valentine, Christmas Alphabet

Other popular songs

Bill Haley & His Comets, Rock Around the Clock

Rosemary Clooney, Mambo Italiano

Jimmy Young, Unchained Melody

Slim Whitman, Rose Marie [11 weeks at number 1]

How old were you in 1955? Does this timeline bring back any memories? 



cover image courtesy of Ofcom report The revinvention of the 1950s living room

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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Thanks for voting!
Loved this,I was eight but remember all the music my father played piano we had little money there was six of us in a room and kitchen think someone gave us the piano.
5th Jul 2020
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What a fantastic trip down memory lane for us oldies. I had just left Dudley Girls’ HighSchool and had met my future Husband with whom I spent over sixty very happy years‘ until his death
Eight years ago. So many memories came flooding back. I wonder if the young folk of today will still remember all the words to the songs of today. I sang along with the ones mentioned without hesitation. Thank you so much, made my day.
20th Apr 2020
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I was 10 in 1955 and remember quite a few of the topics, having 2 older brothers, the music I remember the most, well done for this
19th Apr 2020
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I was born 1944, and remember the start of the pop music era with Bill Hailey we did not have a television but had a telephone (on a party line). On the radio we listened to such programs as the Navy Lark, Goon Show,and on a Saturday morning music which was a mixture of the more traditional ballads and the progressive 'Pop Music'.
19th Apr 2020
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I was born in July 1954 so don't actually 'remember' any of these things happening. However, over the years you hear the music of that time and the political decisions made then filter through so you find yourself nodding in remembrance!!! Everything looks so OLD. Then I remember that I'm nearly 66, my parents didn't have a telly until around '64, a car until around '65 and a telephone until about '67 or '68. Doesn't time fly???
16th Oct 2017
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Wow, I was 3 yrs old in 1955 but nowadays I frequently do ballroom and sequence dancing to some of those songs, Bill Hayleys Rock n Roll, Rosemary Clooneys Mambo and of course Unchained Melody is popular for Rumba.
15th Oct 2017
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Ah, 1955 ..., I was 4 and living with my maternal grand parents and my mother in a small West Norfolk Village. My father was a merchant seaman who seldom came home. My grand parent's home was full of warmth and affection, tempered by a rigid discipline.

They didn't ever have a TV. nor telephone. Instead they had a Westminster radio and we would all listen to the news and go to bed. Mother would tuck me up in bed, grand parents would come in to say good night.

The trouble was there was no internal flush toilet. That facility was a shed 50 yards up the yard and sit on a bucket. Not nice in winter.

Good days none the less, and I miss them and my family. They're now all gone.

And I'm next!
15th Oct 2017
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Wonderfull to hear of events in the year of my birth

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