40 years ago we were living in the decade called the 70’s. It was a very interesting time to be living in as we had just finished the “swinging sixties” and man had recently gone to the moon. The 60’s were a fast and friendly time to live, as unemployment was low, industry high, and the national service abolished.
The 70’s were to bring about many changes, changes in music, culture, and also how we worked and lived.
Here are some of the costs of living from the 70’s.
In 1970, the average weekly wage was around £32.
A loaf of bread cost 9p.
A property could be bought in places for £4,975.
A Range Rover could be purchased for £1,998.
Two (2) tickets to the cinema cost 90p.
A bottle of whiskey £2.69
A pint of lager 20p.
How times have changed. You can take a trip back in time and see some food items from the 70’s as a caretaker found an old cupboard that had not been opened for 40 years
By 1976, a loaf of bread cost 18p, or double in just six (6) years. And a pint of lager rose to 32p.
The 70’s were a decade of change.
The summer of 1976 is notable because it was the hottest summer in the UK since records began! The record temperature was 35.9 C or 96.6 F in Cheltenham on July 3rd.
Who could forget the power cuts and the three (3) day work week. I wish we could forget flared trousers and platform shoes.
In 1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister.
1971, this was the year the UK changed to the decimal system for its currency. That took a few people some time to get used to. The entire process was to take 18 months.
It was in 1976 that the Concorde made its first commercial flight. It was 1970 when the first 747 jet landed at Heathrow Airport, signalling the beginning of global travel.
The “winter of discontent” in 1979.
Britain fully joined the EU in 1973.
One constant throughout the entire decade of the 70’s, The Queen, who had her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
Sir Richard Branson began what was to become his empire by opening Virgin Records on Oxford Street in 1970.
The rock group Black Sabbath released their debut album. They are now considered to be the pioneers of heavy metal music.
Paul McCartney announces The Beatles are breaking up in 1970.
Who could forget “Glam Rock” in the early 70’s. Then there came the “punk” movement in 1976, which was more than music, but a fashion statement and lifestyle.
If you were earning high wages, the tax imposed on you was quite high in the seventies. As they were the world’s greatest rock and roll band and earning huge sums of money, the Rolling Stones became tax exiles in the early seventies.
It was in the early 70’s that “progressive rock” started to grow, only to fizzle out by the end of the decade.
Some of the top films from the 70’s:
The Railway Children – 1970 The story of children looking for their father. The film has a young Jenny Agutter in an early role.
Walkabout – 1971 A similar tale of children on their own, and also having a Ms. Agutter in the film as well.
A Clockwork Orange – 1971 Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of violence and psychological conditioning.
Get Carter – 1971 Nominated for a Bafta, and starring everyone’s favourite cockney, Michael Caine, this film got the 70’s off to a thrilling cinematic start.
The Wickerman – 1973 Edward Woodward and Dracula actor Christopher Lee, made this film a must see. Hey, it rhymes.
Monty Python and The Holy Grail – 1975 The Pythons did two films in the 70’s. This “flesh wound” scene is a classic.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian – 1979 Not content to release one film in the decade, the Pythons released a second film. This one about a young man born on the same day as Jesus Christ and being a neighbour, and what it can ensue. It was quite controversial at the time.
And all the various James Bond films that were released throughout the 70’s. Live and Let Die (1973), The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and Moonracker (1979).
Benny Hill Show – The Benny Hill show ran on TV for 20 years from 1969 to 1989 and was a huge hit in the 70’s. You can watch an episode here.
Steptoe and Son – While this sitcom had a couple of shows in the mid-sixties, it was 1970-1974 when it became popular. This show spawned an American TV show of the same only entitled, “Sanford and Son”.
On The Buses – While this TV show was only on from 1969 – 1973, it did have three (3) full films made as well. I always found the show to be a laugh. You can view an episode here.
Dad’s Army – The sitcom ran on TV from 1968 till 1977. In a BBC poll, it was 13th in a list of the top 100 TV shows.
Rising Damp – This TV show ran on ITV from 1974 to 1978. It was the highest ranking ITV sitcom in a poll taken in 2004.
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – This physical comedy show ran from 1973 – 1978. Some of the scenes have to be seen to be believed.
Are You Being Served? – This sitcom was broadcast on BBC 1 from 1972 until 1985. It also was broadcast in America. Set in a department store, the show follows the employees of the store and also the guest stars that come to shop there.
Fawlty Towers – One of the best British TV comedies, this show ran from 1975 to 1979. Initially the reaction to the show was lukewarm, however its popularity grew, and in a poll by the British Film Institute in 2000, the show was voted number 1. You can watch a clip from the show here.
There are so many more TV shows such as Porridge, The Good Life, What Ever Happened To The Likely Lads?, Morecambe and Wise, and Citizen Smith.
And of course the soaps, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
A lot changed for mums and dads around the house as well in the 70’s.
Furniture – Teak was still the favourite wood for furniture in the 70’s. Furniture was getting more colourful, also more modern.
Appliances – More households were getting freezers, which allowed us to store more food and shop less. Stores such as Iceland were started, just selling frozen foods. Food processors, and microwaves were being used in the kitchen more and more. The kitchen was getting to be an exciting place to cook in.
Food – With more and more households getting freezers and shops like Iceland popping up, the foods we bought and ate changed in the 70’s. Prawn cocktails and fondue was all the rage. Ready meals were easier to buy and cook due to households having microwaves. More convenience foods were readily available.
Fast Food – It was in London in 1974 that McDonalds opened its first restaurant. It wasn’t long before we had Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Huts sprouting up all over the country.
While many of the cars driven in the 70’s had a start in the 60’s, some of these rose to popularity during the 70’s.
Ford Cortina – The Ford Cortina was one of the best selling cars in the 70’s. Ford also had a huge seller with the Escort.
Morris Marina – Beginning production in 1970, and ending in 1980, British Leyland’s Morris Marian was a popular car in the 70’s. The car was also sold in other areas as the Austin Marina and the Leyland Marina.
Hillman Avenger – Production of the Hillman Avenger began in 1970 by the Rootes Group. Then in 1976, Chrysler took over until 1981. The same model car was sold in America as the Plymouth Cricket.
Austin Maxi – Another British Leyland offering beginning 1970. The Austin Maxi was unique for the time as it was a five door hatchback. It also had a five speed gearbox.
So there you have a little bit of a taste of what it was like in the 70’s. If you lived through those years, maybe it put a smile on your face or jogged your memory. If you did not live in the 70’s, maybe this little history lesson taught you something new.