Food in the 1950s

Food in the 1950s on film

This film  Food in the 1950s, made by the headmaster of Joseph Rowntree Senior School, New Earswick during the 1950s, shows how pupils worked to grow and preserve their own food. (Download an accompanying worksheet to the film)
Within the film, children dig and pick cabbages in the school garden. In the greenhouse pupils taste the tomatoes they have grown. They pet rabbits and pigs, while geese and turkeys roam the gardens. The film also shows the boys mowing and raking. 

In the kitchen, girls wearing white aprons and hats, bake cakes and biscuits, prepare afternoon tea, iron clothes and preserve fruit in jars. 

Activity: 'Imagine you were there'

Students from St Bart's Primary School in Armley, Leeds, watched the film and then imagined that they were with the children in the film. They thought they would...


See: Farm animals like cows, chickens rabbits and ducks. Men working in the fields, digging up the ground. People eating tomatoes. There are plants and lots of hay.


Hear: The sound of animal noises and leaves rustling. Machines like lawnmowers, people eating and children laughing.


Smell: Fresh air, hay, grass and animals. The smell of plants, fruit, biscuits and cake.


Taste: Tomatoes, biscuits, cake and tea. The taste of fresh air.


Touch: Machines, spades, animals, hay, wood, clothes, jars and food.


The children used what they had learnt from the video to design a 1950s style vegetable garden for their own school. (Examples of the children's work can be seen in the images above.)


This film from Bradford Market Charter can also be used as a source to find out the types of food people ate in the 1950s and can be used to compare food shopping then to shopping now.

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