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I was lucky to be born when I was. The Labour (socialist) government had just created what became known as the Welfare State. Every citizen now had access to free health care, education, an unemployment allowance and much more. It was a safety net for the poor that transformed Britain over the next 30 years. After two world wars that most people felt could have been avoided, the electorate voted for change.

When I was small, we still had rationing. You couldn’t go to the shop and buy an egg, much less meat. Times were still tough. But as the 1950s progressed, things began to improve and “teenagers” (as they were dubbed) became the first consumer generation. Pop music took the world by storm and Teddy Boys (see here) were the Kings of Cool in England. The link is really worth checking out. The Trocadero was where I used to go to Saturday morning pictures – cartoons, episodes of sci-fi and western series and a main movie. The Elephant & Castle was the southern “border” of my neighborhood. Michael Caine is from around there, as is Tommy Steele, who is mentioned. He’s still popular in England. A friend tells me there is now a large Hispanic community around the E&C and people like Gilberto Santarrosa do gigs there!

This is a great photo of a Teddy Boy, also taken at the Elephant & Castle

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