1930s England: Social Life, Clothes, Homes & Childhood

1930s England: There are two-faced historic images of the Depression in 1930s Britain, poverty and riches. While many people were dropped unemployed in poor accommodation, others used to grow their wealth. Well, here’s a fact that may shock you. The 1930s saw more industrial growth than any other decade in British history. It’s true that there was a situation of deprivation. As in all times of economic transition, some industries lowered while others rose. Britain did not experience the explosion that had to portray the U.S., Germany, Canada, and Australia in the 1920s, so its effect came out less serious.

Britain’s world trade went down by half (1929–33), the output of large industry fell by a third, employment revenues went down in nearly all sectors. At the bottom in summer 1932, recorded unemployed numbered 3.5 million, and many more had only part-time employment. Yet these were glorious years for new businesses such as electrical appliances and aviation and cars, the years when Morris, Humber, and Austin became home names. The 1930s also saw an unusual jump in construction, as the comfortable environs of Betjeman’s Metroland extended across England. The Battersea Power Station boosted its minarets over the capital, a symbol of self-assurance in architecture.

The community in the 1930s

  • The 1930s are reminded of huge unemployment. However, there was already mass unemployment in the 1920s in Britain. For most of the decade, it wavered between 10% and 12%. Then, in the early 1930s, the economy was knocked by depression. By the start of 1933 unemployment in Britain was 22.8%. However, unemployment fell extensively in 1933, 1934, and 1935. By January 1936 it stood at 13.9%. Unemployment went on to fall and by 1938 it was around 10%.
Life In The 1930s England
Life In The 1930s England
  • However although a limited recovery took place in Britain in the middle and late 1930s there were partial depression areas in the North of England, Scotland, and South Wales. On the other hand, new industries such as car and aircraft making and electronics appliances in the Centerlands and the South of England where unemployment was comparatively low.
  • The problems of depression and high unemployment were only really fixed by the Second World War, which initiated the industry growing again.
  • Depression and unemployment are separate sides of the story. But there is another side. During the 1930s, for most people with a job, living standards grew significantly.
  • In 1929-30 a survey in London found that about 10% of the population were living at sustenance level. A survey in 1936 found that just under 4% were living at bare survival level. Poverty had by no means departed in Britain by the 1930s but it was much less than ever before.
  • Pensions and unemployment prosperity were made more good in 1928 and in 1930. In 1931 unemployment prosperity was cut by 10% but it was recovered in 1934.
  • Furthermore, prices went on to fall during the 1930s. By 1935 a man on the ‘dole’ was about as well off as an experienced worker in 1905, a scale of how much living measures had risen in Britain.
  • Even so in 1939, many children from cities were displaced to the countryside to be safe from air attack. Many of them had never watched the countryside before. Poorer some of them were used to sleeping in their parent’s beds or even under it. Some poor children were not utilized to sleeping in a bed at all.
Childhood In 1930s England
Childhood In 1930s England

Childhood in the 1930s 

  • However, schooling was mandatory for all children, from the age of 5 until the age of 14, when most children quit school to enter the world of industry or to stay at home and help look after younger relatives. Out of school hours, many children supported with house assignments ran duties and looked after the younger ones in the family as families turned to be much larger in the 1920s.
  • Fee-paying students or those at grammar school had the choice of residing on at school until the age of 18. The school day started at 9 am and finished at 4 pm.
  • Toys and games were very elementary for those growing up in the 1920s and 1930s. Most children played out on the roadways as there were few cars around.
  • Whip and top were very popular – although a little awkward to play if your street was cobbled! Tops were generally made from wood, but carrot tops and turnip tops functioned just as well.
  • Hopscotch was fun, as well as skipping; Double Dutch was a special favourite although it involved long ropes. In summer, cricket was the roadway game of option and of course, football was played all year round. In autumn it would be conkers.

Homes in the 1930s 

If you speak about the 1930s to most people, they think of the after influences of the depression, and the frame up to World War Two. However, from a housing point of view, the 1930s were a glorious time. There were almost 4 million homes that evolved between 1919 and 1930. Nearly 3 million of these were holders by the occupiers, an unusual change from the 750,000 of the early 1920s.

Homes In 1930s England
Homes In 1930s England
  • In the 1920s and 1930s, a new kind of furniture and architecture was launched. It was called Art Deco and it used geometric shapes rather than the flowing lines of the earlier Art Nouveau. The name art deco came from a festival held in Paris in 1925 called the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs.
  • At the starting of the 20th century, only rich people could manage electric light. Other people utilized gas.
  • Normal people did not have electric light until the 1920s and 1930s. Meanwhile in the early 20th-century vacuum cleaners and washing appliances were accessible but only rich people could afford them.
  • The first electric oven went on sale in the USA in 1891. They went on sale in Britain in 1893. By 1939 there were about 1 1/2 million electric ovens in Britain and about 9 million gas ones.
  • In 1900 about 90% of the population of Britain leased their home. However, the home property became more common during the 20th century.
  • By 1939 about 27% of the population occupied their own house. Meanwhile, the first council houses were made before the First World War. More were made in the 1920s and 1930s and some slum clearance took place.
  • Although the moneyed hated the new rural advancements, for millions these homes represented there own life, with real ownership of property. The dream of one day owning your own home converted a reality in the 1930s, and that can only have been a great thing for people.
  • Sadly, many were not to last long, as the Blitz saw 2 million houses dismantled. A fact, although the cartoonist and writer Osbert Lancaster felt it was ‘a probability that does much to accommodate one to the expectation of flying bombardment’.

Clothes in 1930s England

The fashion of the thirties is mostly dimmed by the Depression, but the 1930s were perfect of glamour and style. Here you will learn about all the 1930s clothing and adornments women get on for day and evening events. You will also be able to create a 1930s dresser from vintage or new inspired clothes.

Clothes In 1930s England
Clothes In 1930s England
  • A major change in women’s clothes developed in 1925.
  • At that time women started wearing knee-length skirts. Between the 1920s, it was popular for women to look boyish. However, in the 1930s women’s dress came more traditional. After the First World War men’s clothes converted less intimate and more casual.
  • In the 1920s broad trousers called ‘Oxford bags’ were fashionable.
  • Men also often wore pullovers rather of waistcoats. In the 19th-century men’s underwear enclosed almost the whole body, pulling from the ankles to the neck and the wrists.
  • However, in the 1920s they began to wear shorts that finished above the knee and sleeveless vests. The first y-fronts went on trade in Britain in 1938.

Leisure in 1930s England

  • The impressive age of cinema-going in Britain was the 1930s when most people went at least once and sometimes twice a week. Early cinemas were black and white but in the 1930s the first color films were made. Although it was decades before all films were composed in color.
  • Radio transmission began in 1922 in Britain when the BBC was created. By 1933 half the families in Britain had a radio. Television launched in Britain in 1936 when the BBC started broadcasting.
Leisure In 1930s England
Leisure In 1930s England
  • Sales of ice cream flourished in the 1930s and many new varieties of sweets were launched. These consisted of, Milky Way (1923 in the USA, 1935 in Britain), Crunchie (1929), Snickers (1930), Mars Bar (1932), Whole Nut (1933), Aero and Kit Kat (1935), Maltesers and Blue Riband (1936) and Smarties, Milky Bar and Rolo (1937). Meanwhile, Jaffa cakes went on sale in 1927. Twiglets date from 1929 and Penguins was brought in in 1932.
  • In 1900 kids in Britain sometimes quit school when they were only 12 years old. However, in 1918 the minimal school leaving age was increased to 14. Between the warfare, working-class kids went to elementary schools. Middle-class children went to grammar schools and upper-class children went to public schools.
  • In 1903 an acceleration limit of 20 MPH was introduced in Britain. It was overturned in 1930. However, in 1934 a speed limit of 30 MPH in fortified areas was brought in.
  • Meanwhile, in 1925 the first electric traffic lights were started in London.
  • A driving test was introduced in 1934.
  • In 1934, Percy Shaw came up with the cat’s eye.
  • The parking meter was come up with by Carlton Magee. The first one was installed in the USA in 1935.

FAQ’s About 1930s England

What Was Happening In England In 1935?

1 June: The Driving Test Becomes Compulsory.
6 June: Alfred Hitchcock’s Film Of The 39 Steps Released In The Uk.
7 June: Ramsay Macdonald Retires; Stanley Baldwin Takes Over As Prime Minister.
18 June: Anglo-german Naval Agreement – Britain Agrees To A German Navy Equal To 35% Of Her Own Naval Tonnage.

What Was Life Like In The 1930S?

For The Most Part, Banks Were Uncontrolled And Uninsured. The Government Offered No Insurance Or Settlement For The Unemployed, So When People Ended Earning, They Stopped Spending. The Customer Economy Ground To A Halt And An Natural Stagnation Became The Great Depression, The Defining Event Of The 1930S.

What Was The Means Test 1930S?

The Means Test, The Estimate Of The Total Household Income Of Those Claiming Unemployment Benefit, Was Authorized In November 1931 As Part Of The National Government’s ‘Economy’ Programme, And Was, Both At The Time And In Later Memory, One Of The Most Cursed Institutions In Inter-war Britain.

Did Britain Have A Great Depression?

The 1930S Economy Was Pointed By The Repercussions Of The Great Depression. After Experiencing A Decade Of Economic Sluggishness In The 1920S, The Uk Economy Was Further Hit By The Sharp Global Commercial Downturn In 1930-31. This Lead To Higher Unemployment And Boundless Poverty.