What a year 1947 was! As well as the on-going post-war trauma there was the worst winter weather of the twentieth century to contend with; there was rationing of petrol, potatoes, bread and just about everything else; there were power cuts and make-do-and-mend; there was the nationalisation of the coal mining industry and the railways; the “Cold War” started and there was the inauguration of the CIA; the violent birth of independent India and Pakistan took place along with the partition of Palestine; the Marshall Plan was created by the USA to try and improve the situation in post-war Europe; the “New Look” was designed by Christian Dior in Paris while “Utility” furniture was the best that most people could hope to buy.
My mum, Doreen Buckle, kept a diary during the early months of 1947. I've been using it as a starting point to find out more about that era. You can read more about my findings if you click here.
By the Summer of 1947 Doreen had stopped writing in her diary and I think I can guess why.
Love was in the air!
On July 7th 1947 the engagement was announced between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Although they'd met in 1934 and been secretly engaged since 1946, the official announcement wasn't made until after Elizabeth's twenty-first birthday. The wedding was held on 20th November 1947 and Philip became the Duke of Edinburgh in the morning before the wedding ceremony.
Ration coupons were still required to buy the fabric for Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown which was designed by Norman Hartnell. It was made from ivory satin with pearl motifs of star lilies and orange blossoms.
While this was going on I think that Doreen herself started a new romance. There are hints throughout her diary of boys she was interested in:
Saturday January 11th 1947
I danced with John nearly all night.
Saturday 8th February 1947
W.S. danced with me quite a lot.
Saturday 5th April 1947
Went to Cuban [a dance hall in Barnsley] at night, had a lovely time met a nice Polish soldier.
Monday April 7th 1947
Went to Dance at night not bad.
Very nice boy there – Brian.
N.B walked me home.
Monday May 26th 1947
Played in tournament with T.C.
Went to Cuban.
Had a really smashing time.
Arthur was there. He is quite nice.
W.S. also there.
But one name keeps recurring:
Saturday Feb 1st 1947
Went to Palace [cinema] at night.
Maurice and Norman there. Norman walked me home.
Saturday March 22nd 1947
Went to Modern School Dance at night.
Not too bad. N.B. walked me home. What a thrill.
Monday April 7th 1947
N.B walked me home.
Wednesday May 7th 1947
Played tennis, not bad games.
Saw N.B at night.
And N.B is my dad, Norman Buckle, who had been discharged from the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy in July 1946 and was a full-time student at Bradford Technical College working towards a Diploma in Public Health and Administration. And I think they started going out with each other or "courting" as they called it in those days.
Unfortunately, they both died many years ago so I can't ask; only speculate.
Doreen was 20 years old at the end of 1947 and on December 29th the following year, when she was twenty-one, her card from Norman looks quite special.
In December 1949 Norman bought an engagement ring. I guess they announced their engagement to be married when it was Doreen's birthday that year.
Doreen and Norman were married on September 2nd 1950 and were joined by me the following Summer.
I think I'm at the end of my 1947 Diary Project now. I've really enjoyed researching the various topics suggested by my mum's diary. If you would like to read more please click here to take a look at my 1947 Diary page where there are links to most of the blogposts I've written about the diary.
I'm a former primary school head teacher now enjoying family history, e-publishing and gardening. I'm the author of "Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood" and was delighted when the book became an Amazon 2015 bestseller in the Social History category. I'm the founder of Spurwing Ebooks which is at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com for book details and information about new releases and special offers. Details of my books are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-Murray/e/B009R7CRVC and the other books I've published are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-Murray/e/B007AQZMZK