Chester in the 1950s

This blog focuses on the events of the 1950’s, as the centenary event draws closer the events in the 1950’s seem not-as-long-ago as first thought.

The civil legal aid scheme began to operate in 1950 at which time it provided 80% of the population with a means tested entitlement to legal aid. By 1973 this had dropped to 40% and by 2008 it only covered 29% of the population.

It was in 1952 that CCoSW (Chester Council of Social Welfare) became Chester and District Council of Social Welfare.

In 1954 the then Conservative government established the Royal Commission on the law relating to Mental Illness and Mental Deficiency (the Percy Commission) to assess the extent to which people with mental disorders could be treated as voluntary patients.

It was in 1953 that millions of people all over Britain watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, an estimated 20 million viewers watched the coronation and it was the first time in history that there was a larger television audience than radio audience. This year also saw the first successful climb to the summit of Mount Everest, with Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay becoming the first men to firmly plant their feet on top of the summit.

Another British sporting accomplishment was the first run of a sub four minute mile by Roger Bannister in 1954.

However there were advancements around the world with the launch of the world’s first satellite ‘Sputnik’ by the Soviet Union. The USSR was also able to get the first living animal into space with the launch of Laika the dog into space in 1957.

This decade also the establishment of well-known businesses such as McDonalds and LEGO and the Hula Hoop first became popular.

Other political developments included the coming to power of a communist leader in Cuba, in the form of Fidel Castro, meaning that communism was now on America’s doorstep. Joseph Stalin also died in this decade leading to de-Stalinisation with his successor Khrushchev denouncing the former leader in the following years, this lead to a slight warming up in relations between the two superpowers.