Thursday, 30 November 2017

Walking boots and parties, November 1957

Alice has been to St Albans on the bus and is pleased when she returns to the college to find it still standing bar a few roof tiles, due to the bad weather.  Alice has bought new walking boots and is oiling them and preparing to walk them in on the lacrosse or hockey pitches.  She is very pleased to have been selected as one of only two students from Bedford Physical Education College to go on a mountaineering course at Snowden, for which she will need the boots.  She has enclosed the receipt, which tells us that she bought the boots from Millets on Bedford High Street.  Following the war, Millets opened stores around the country, growing to 17 stores in 1957 when Alice bought her boots.  She paid 1 pound, 1 shilling and 9 pence for the boots, equivalent to £24.07 today.

Alice also excitedly recounts a 21st birthday party in her letter, where “great fun was had by all”. She says it lasted until 11.15pm and those who were due to be locking up college, forgot to do so until midnight.  This is referring to the House duty which students performed for a week at a time, locking up the house at a set time and making sure all students were in their rooms. This was part of the College Regulations governing students’ behaviour, which was very different to today’s expectations.  Alice mentions that they generally locked up at 10pm in 1957.  A copy of the House Notices from the Bedford Physical Education Archive dated 1961 shows that locking up had been moved to 11pm on weekdays at 9.30pm on Sundays.  It also gives strict guidance on leave and visitors.  However, Alice and her friends did not get into trouble on this occasion for locking up late and she seems to have enjoyed the 21st birthday much more than the many coffee parties at the college.  Alice refers to these as “rather a bore”!

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