Tuesday, 26 April 2016
How Times Change
One of the threads on the Braintree Facebook page recently has been photographs taken over the town in days of yore. One chap has cleverly enlarged some sections for us and enabled a better look into the peoples past.
This picture features the town centre (well almost) in 1952 and shows a vastly changed image from any similar one taken today. Where trees and meadow exist now stands a 'Sainsburys' complete with car park and for the locals so many changes to a town they once knew. I suspect all of us would see the place we grew up in as vastly different to what is on offer today. If I returned to Edinburgh I would note the basic layout to be the same but so many things have changed, no different for those who once played on the streets here. Mind you if they played on the streets they would be in trouble as traffic was busy enough even then, our perception of traffic changes more than the actual traffic in my view. A mothers fear for her young while ten cars an hour pass along is no better than her fear when hundreds pass.
The museum is funnily enough sited in the middle of this section of the picture. Once a small school the four pointed arches above the windows remain but all around them has changed considerably. The playground and buildings on the other side of the road are now a car park however the market day is still under way so this picture was taken on a Wednesday or Saturday, Wednesday is my guess.
The bus park remains but I suspect the prices have increased.
The world has changed considerably since 1952 when I was still learning to walk. A war had just been won, rationing was in place, a huge rebuilding work was happening almost everywhere and war damage to the town can be seen in some of the empty spaces. To be a builder at that time must have been a kind of heaven. In 1951 Harold MacMillan was given the task of creating three million homes and he did so by 1953 and later went on to become Prime Minister. He would be better thaan the money grubbing one we have today. MacMillan it must be said was well to the left of David Cameron, indeed he was further to the left of many in the Labour party today as he had a concern for the lower orders and wished to offer better conditions, unlike those who appear to merely line their pockets today.
Yes Jeremy Hunt I mean you!
Those who grew up in the fifties have a different outlook to those who grew up in later decades. The wealth amassed by the west during the decades of peace have driven us mad. Wealth brings a strange security that vanishes like the mist as it did in 2008 when the world collapsed. However the belief that we ought to be wealthy and have whatever we want remains and people will still spend what they have not got or use credit to get it. Sometimes I'm glad I'm poor although if anyone has a spare million I will accept it.
What will the town, now 40,000 strong, be like in another fifty years? Still the same basic layout and ... then what?