The housemate is on holiday this week and wanted to see an exhibition at a local museum, although I think his real motive was a lunch out so we set off on a dull but dry day and soon arrived at Kirkleatham Museum near Redcar.

Kirkleatham Museum

Kirkleatham Museum from car park

Kirkleatham Museum

Kirkleatham Museum rather grander front







Fountain at the entrance

Fountain at the entrance

I was surprised to find that entrance to the museum was free and after a short description by the receptionist of what we could see we were soon on our way round. The first exhibition was the most interesting as it had been set up last year to showcase life 50 years ago. So the highlight year was 1963 – I would have been 15. It was fascinating to see which items were familiar and which were not.

1963 memories

1963 memories




My elder brothers had a Meccano set but much of it was missing by the time my younger brother and I got our hands on it.




Dr Who was aired on television for the first time and Dr No was the forerunner of the James Bond films.

Dr Who arrives

Dr Who arrives.

My mother used to read Woman’s Weekly and at that time I remember the cover was that awful pink colour! The Beatles were becoming popular and President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The next cabinet contained some real gems –

Some real gems

Private Eye was passed round at school and was in great demand as a symbol of the new rebellion against authority. The soda siphon was sold with a hefty deposit on the bottle and it was a great bonus to ‘find’ one that could be returned to the off-licence again! The cold war was still on and below is a detail .

Nuclear Attack was a possibility

Nuclear Attack was a possibility

My father belonged to an organisation called the Civil Defence Corps which was a civilian volunteer organisation established in Great Britain in 1949 to take control in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. It was still going strong in 1963 and my father attended regular training exercises near to my Essex home, at Danbury Park, where a number of ruined buildings had been constructed. I have vivid memories of being dressed as a casualty complete with fake blood and being rescued on one of the evacuation exercises.

Of course, this was all before decimalisation of our currency. Who remembers the old pound and ten bob notes?

Old money

Old money

I still have a ten shilling note somewhere, probably hidden away so I cannot find it! However, I do not still have an example of the following toy

For budding architects

For budding architects

This really stirred the memory and I can remember spending hours with my brother building various houses from this ingenious toy. It came with drawings and it was only the shape of the roof which was fixed. You built the design using a base board and a form of scaffolding into which slotted the bricks and windows and doors. Of course we always wanted a bigger set than my parents could afford.

I’m sorry some of the photographs aren’t really clear but click on them to see full size and I have only shown some of the exhibition but hope they are of interest. They certainly stirred my memories. Oh, and we had a very nice lunch at the onsite cafe which was much busier than the museum!




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