Sidney in the 1950s

1950 Russia has the atom bomb, America has the hydrogen bomb and the Korean war starts. At tech I walk out of my HNC first year exams. Still, it could be worse.

1951 Festival of Britain, where 1% of the population owns 50% of the nation's wealth. I repeat the year at night school - this time I pass! I'm getting faster now, look at me pretending to race.

1952 The contraceptive pill arrives on the scene, but I didn't like that taste. I become club champion, pass the HNC final exam (just) and get called up. Annus mirabilis.

1953 Tenzing Norgay climbs Mount Everest and Edmund Hillary gets all the credit. In the RAF with NS25 I spend a whole year learning radio theory and the Morse code.

1954 The Korean war ends, with the 'defence' contractors much better off. For my second year of national service, I get posted to a nice little place in Wiltshire. All mod cons, including a snooker table in the sergeant's mess.

1955 At the height of the cold war, the WFDY holds a World Youth Festival in Warsaw. I go as a delegate and enjoy myself, while Muriel works behind the scenes. I take my bicycle, of course.

1956 Anthony Eden gets his knickers in a twist in Suez. I leave BTH and start out as a contract draughtsman. Rapidly lose count of how many drawing offices I work in. One of them is at Bankside Power Station - there I am on the roof .

1957 Russia sends up Sputnik - the Americans try to look cool. My friend (Sid Kenton) and I have Lambrettas now. I meet Anne Marsh at a social and ask her which composer she likes - she floors me with Gliere. There follows a great deal of scooting across London late at night.

1958 Cuba goes communist - the Americans try to look cool. Anne and I, married, are living in a second floor flat and Mark is born. Auntie Ettie, dozing off during a visit, gets whacked on the head with a slide rule. Who did that?

1959 The M1 is opened for boy racers, but Anne and I take to cycling around with Mark in a sidecar. We are adamantly car-less and TV-less, so far. But the sixties are coming!


Doing me best in a 50 mile time trial

With NS25 at Halfpenny Green RAF

With Muriel in Warsaw

Lunch break at Bankside Power Station