View Full Version : Prices and wage information
25-03-2006, 3:41 PM
I am information gathering before I embark on writing about my life and times!
I was born in 1946 so obviously I'm 60 and it seems like a good time to get started.
One thing that I would like to keep going throughout, would be how the costs of items has changed over the years and in particular what percentage of the wage for that time the items were, i.e. its real value or how long particular ctagories of people have to work to get the money to buy them.
I have tried to follow the 'cost of living index' but got lost!
The type of thing that I hope to be able to find is the cost of the basics, bread, milk, taters, beer etc, cinema ticket prices, football match turnstile prices. Cars, houses, clothing etc, etc,
Alongside this I would like to give the salaries (wages) of say, skilled factory workers, labourers, managers, teachers, doctors etc, etc. and try to keep this thread going over the years.
Can anyone give me any pointers?
25-03-2006, 7:03 PM
I don't know about pointers, but I started work in London in 1968 aged nearly 19 on a weekly wage of £13 for a secretarial post. I lived in a YWCA hostel which cost £4.10s for half-board. The tube fare for 2 stops was 6d.
........ I know it's a very long time ago, but it seems incredible that one could live on £13 a week in London. :)
26-03-2006, 8:00 AM
That was London wages, My former husband was working as a brick setter in 1964 and brought home £12 per week and that had to keep both of us because I was not expected to continue working now I was married and as soon as I was pregnant, well, that was me at home for the forseeable future.
26-03-2006, 9:15 AM
Aged 16 in 1960, I was paid £2. 17s. 6d. per week. It was my first full time job straight from High School in Wakefield, Yorkshire and I was employed by a firm of Solicitors, as an Asst. Book-keeper/Cashier.
The cashier trained me very well, so I was able to work through to trial balance every month on the Office Account as well as the Clients Account ..... so the Auditors had nothing to do on their yearly checks! ;)
I left December 1964 (still Asst.) and I was earning £8. 15s. 0d. per week.
I started full time work in Manchester for a firm of Solicitors in January 1965, this time employed as the only Book-keeper/Cashier for the princely sum of 12 gns. a week (£12. 12s. 0d.) and I married that same year. I left that firm in July 1968 to have my baby the following February, unfortunately, this is the one time I can't remember what my earnings were!
In 1975, I took a part-time job as a Clerical Asst. with Bayer Dyestuffs for 3 hours a day @ £2 an hour. In 1978, I managed to return to my *normal* job for a Solicitor working three days a week = 24 hours @ £4 an hour. When I left in November 1986 to return to Yorkshire, I was working four days a week = 32 hours @ £8 an hour.
27-03-2006, 2:41 PM
I left school aged 16 in 1942, very unhappy because I wanted to go to University and teach chemistry. Second best, I joined a Civil Service department and worked as a lab assistant, analyzing metals used in the making of various war materials. First, I attended a training course in Cambridge and received 35/- a week, but was billeted in a private house and part of my board was paid. The highlight was that for a short time we were in the actual lab. where Fleming discovered penicillin.
My first real job was in Bolton where I received three guineas a week. For this I worked from 8.30 am to 6 pm, with 40 minutes for lunch, and 8.30 to 1 pm on Saturday. I lived in a womens' hostel for 21/- a week and a 2 course lunch cost 1/- in a canteen or 1/7 in a cafe. A vist to the cinema was 9d, an ounce of knitting wool between 4d and 8d and a skein of stranded embroidery silk was 3d. It was 6d to visit the local swimming pool. An added bonus was to get double pay for working on the monarch's official birthday.
When the war ended so did the job, and I then worked in the lab of a Sheffield steel works for £4 a week; 8.30 to 5, 9 to 1 on Saturdays. I was married in 1947 and remember paying 35/- each for two blankets, £2 10 0 for a pair of black market sheets and £30 for a second hand Axminster carpet. A bedroom suite was £35, a fireside chair £4 and a second hand solid oak table was £5. In 1949 we bought a new stair carpet for a guinea a yard.
In 1948 I began with health problems and my next job in 1952 was as lab technician in a girls grammar school where, as near as I can remember, I got just under £30 a month. This was 8.30 to 4.30 daily and 9 to 12 on two Saturdays out of three.
I can go on - how much more do you want to know ?
When I started work in 1952 my annual salary in Local Government was £160.00. My grade was the Higher General Grade as I had 5 "O" levels. Pay was increased on one's birthday and when I reached 18 my annual salary rose to £190.00. However, this was an Irishman's rise as at the age of 18 one had to pay the adult rate for National Insurance and was automatically entered into the superannuation scheme. Many years later those reaching 18 were paid a double increment to offset the higher deductions.
28-03-2006, 10:10 PM
You might find this website of help:
It's American but has calculators for the UK enabling you to compare a number of factors between any two dates. However, it doesn't give the details for specific items of food, for example, or wages in specific occupations. It includes
Five ways to compare the worth of the UK pound, including the RPI and average earnings
What were the UK earnings and prices?
Purchasing power of the UK pound.
16-04-2006, 12:38 AM
My dear mum kept a decorating diary detailing which rooms had been decorated in which years - probably so that she could tell dad precisely how long ago it was that he last decorated as he hated the job. He'd far rather spend 5 hours digging over the allotment than spend an hour decorating.
She also listed the price of items purchased.
Half a pint of undercoat and half a pint of topcoat for the woodwork cost four shillings each. Wallpaper was five shillings and threepence a roll. And a green lampshade one shilling and sixpence.
Just like today, the bigger the tin, the cheaper the price.
July 1955 one pint of undercoat and topcoat cost six shillings and nine pence each, while half a gallon of Olympia Plastic Emulsion (for the walls) in Paris Grey was a quid. And a new square of Congoleum three and a half yards by three yards for the floor was £2.9s.0d.
1955 was the year dad said that instead of going on holiday he would spend one of his two weeks decorating, and we'd go out for days for the other week.
1955 was also the year when dad vowed that never again would he decorate three bedrooms in one year, and that never ever again would he forego a weeks' holiday away. :D
By August, he was on the last bedroom. The wallpaper was a bit cheaper at three shillings and threepence a roll, but any cost saving was cancelled out by the purchase of a new bedroom suite.
His and hers wardrobes and a dressing table £60.17s.6d.
Coil and sides (think mum meant the base) £4.8s.6d.
Interior spring mattress £10.10s.0d
Compared to prices today I think pillows at 14/3d each were expensive, though they were almost certainly feather ones.
A candlewick bedspread at £2.12s.6d completed the expenditure.
16-04-2006, 1:06 AM
Paint was obviously the new black and distemper a thing of the past, so 1956 saw the stairs decorated.
Quart tins of undercoat for the walls were 13/= ; topcoat 14/9d.
The stair carpet was obtained with a discount so only cost 17/6d a yard. Stair clips (to hold the carpet to the stairs, none of this namby-pamby wall-to-wall stuff in those days!) were 2/2d a pair.
It cost six quid to burn off all the paint prior to the outside of the house being painted, and because dad didn't like going up ladders, he paid someone five quid to paint the upstairs windows etc.
Half a gallon of topcoat for the walls was £1.10s.
3 pints topcoat for the woodwork £1.6s.
Quart tin of Rubberised liquid lino floor paint in Tile Red cost £1.
New nets for the window cost 3/3 a yard.
And a New World gas cooker was £32.2s.6d.
29-10-2008, 6:32 PM
I left school in 1944 and started work at a brass factory in rotherham they made taps and valves i was a prentice pattern maker i got 15 shillings a week i lived 5 miles from the factory it cost me one shilling a day bus fare it was not worth going into work at saturdays .I left when i was 15yrs and half and went in my own village to work in the mine i was on £2-50 per week and no bus fare,i had to apply for a release from the factory because the war was on? they made big Valves for D Day landing pipe line
29-10-2008, 6:48 PM
I left school in 1966 to my first job as a junior shorthand/typist. My wages were £4.10s 0d which was considered a good wage for a school leaver at that time! My job was in Urmston, Manchester (so not the big City!). The only cost I remember is for a loaf of bread at 9d!
29-10-2008, 7:05 PM
I feel very young reading all that because my prices don't go back so far. c1964, school dinners in Kent were 5/- a week, which was also the price of a 'single' record. Both went up to 7/6 and 10/- over the next three or four years.
In my first Saturday job in 1973 I worked 9am-6pm, and was paid £1.83 per Saturday. Marks & Sparks were paying £2.20. Around that time, my friends and I could go out for 50p. It was 10p bus fare to travel five miles, 20p to go swimming in the new indoor pool, 10p to buy a cup of coffee in the Wimpy afterwards, and 10p to go home on the bus. Also at that time it was 75p to buy a single and about £2.50 for an LP. A pair of brown leather school platform shoes from Dolcis cost £6.50 in 1974.
That's all I can remember for now.
29-10-2008, 7:13 PM
I think you should henceforth be known as Young Pipsqueak!
29-10-2008, 7:23 PM
My first single record purchase was Tom Jones - Delilah in 1968, it cost 7s 6d.
I had a paper round around 1971, 10p a day and 20p for Sundays.
My first wage as a trainee hairdresser was £5.00 a week. A blow dry, very new and flash, in my neck of the woods cost £1.00 it went up shortly after to £1.08 when VAT struck.
01-11-2008, 11:26 PM
I can only comment on the 70's, as I'm so young (oh, if only that were true !) anyway, here goes.... I got married in 1978, when I was still in my first job for an insurance company. My salary was £88 a month and we had a £7000 mortgage which cost... £88 per month.
When we moved into our house we bought a 3 piece suite which cost £200 and the carpet for the living room also cost £200. The insurance company I worked for had a canteen where you could get a main meal for 22p !!!!! You had to pay extra for pudding, but that was only about 7p.
I can also remember at the end of the 70s or early 80s, discarding blankets and eiderdowns and buying a newfangled continental quilt for £12. Last year I bought a new one for £10 !! Inflation seems to have passed quilts by for some reason.
I know this thread is very old but I have a category in My Favourites with loads of webpages dedicated to this topic. Sure someone will find this useful.
Here's the list:
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