Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Teesside through the Decades: The 50s

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Teesside through the Decades: The 50s

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE MADDISON

The foundations of economic prosperity laid in the 1950s started to bear fruit as the new decade opened into what has since been described as the Swinging Sixties. But actually the decade did not really start swinging until Beatlemania swept the nation in 1963, and Teesside witnessed the band's very early days. The Fab Four visited Teesside three times, with one appearance at The Astoria in Middlesbrough and twice at The Globe in Stockton, including the night when the news came through about the assassination of President Kennedy.

Unemployment has always been a problem on Teesside but in the 1960s it really did seem that the blight was going to disappear. Wages were better than ever before, more women were entering the workplace and the aspirations of ordinary working people were rising. The 1960s was a time when home ownership was on the increase more than ever before and certainly more than it is today. Many young couples starting out in married life were doing something their parents could only dream of, owning their own homes. New estates on the outskirts of Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and elsewhere on Teesside were sprouting up where there were just fields before. The Evening Gazette was full of advertisements for houses from developers such as Wimpey who were offering brand new three-bedroomed homes in Stockton and Middlesbrough for only PS2,300. Houses were never so plentiful or so affordable as they were in the mid-1960s, PS2,300 is the equivalent of PS33,000 today.

No wonder people still talk about the 60s as good time and they would tell you the music was better! THE 80s didn't get any better on Teesside as Thatcher's government proved to be the catalyst for major change in the North-east, and for many living in the area it wasn't a change for the good. Development continued with the arrival of the likes of the Hill Street Centre, but industry took a major hit during the 80s as Thatcher's vision of a privatised Britain took shape. Gone went the mines after a bitter battle between unions and government, British Steel was privatised in 1988, but ICI did continue to flourish under John Harvey Jones, who headed the company between 1982-87. …

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