Fashion in the 1950s

Oral history account

Rene Smith worked as a weaver at Armley Mills in Leeds during the 1950s. She started work in 1941, when she was just 14 years old. Rene agreed to return to the mill to allow pupils from a local school to interview her about what life was life for mill workers in the 1950s.


The children devised a set of interview questions to pose to Rene about her job and her life outside work. In this video clip Rene answers the children's questions about clothes in the 1950s, including:

  • What sort of clothes did you wear when you weren't at work?
  • Were fashionable clothes expensive?
  • Where did you get your clothes from?

In the other resources in this series you can also watch further clips of Rene answering questions on subjects such as family life, entertainment and hobbies, food, working in the mill and health and safety. 

Children can be encouraged to use this example to conduct their own interviews with family members or research what life was like in their own local area during the 1950s.

Scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Armley Mills Museum, Leeds Museums and Galleries | 
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