Childhood in the ’50s – Did You Know???

Caroline Kelly

June 19, 2012

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As part of our Childhood Now & Then topic for our Positive Childhood campaign we have taken a look back in time with the help of the Museum of Country Life at Childhood in the 50s and what life was like for children at that time.

Did you know…….

Here are some interesting and maybe quirky facts from life in 1950s rural Ireland that you might not have known!

#1. Large Families were the Norm

In the 1950s families of up to ten children were not unusual!

#2. Babies were not born in hospital

Most babies were born at home in the 1950s.

#3. Toys were not the toys we know today

Toys could be made from sticks, stones and even matches! Shop bought toys were a real treat such as comics, dolls and marbles. Lots of toys were handed down from child to child.

Recommended Reading: 20 Great Childhood Games

#4. Children didn’t usually stay in school until 18/19

Many children left school in their early teens to start work.

#5. Children had to do chores

Kids used to have lots of jobs around the house such as collecting firewood.

#6. Saturday night was bath night!

No showers or baths every day in the 1950s!

#7. Polio & TB were a worry

In the 1950s Polio and Tuberculosis were the big health worries in Irish homes.

#8. Tea Chests were used as Playpens

Most small babies spent their time in Tea Chests, which were used as playpens.

#9. Rural Life was very Different

Travelling shops were a common occurrence in rural Ireland. Walking was the most common form of transport. Fair days and markets were a great source of enjoyment.

#10. Jelly and custard was a favourite dessert for many!

Need we say more?!

Do you have any stories from your own parents about their childhood in the 50s? Tell us in the comments below.

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Published On: June 19th, 2012 / Categories: Lifestyle / Last Updated: February 25th, 2023 /

About the Author: Caroline Kelly

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Caroline is a mum of 2 and when not busy working is usually found on a Camogie pitch! She loves sport, reading and spending time being creative with her kids.

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