In 1955 the BBC sent the reporter Robert Reid to the industrial town of Salford, Lancashire, which he had known well twenty years before. ‘Very little seemed to have changed,’ he told his audience.
I found the same grim backs and the same drab fronts. The same houses but twenty years older and that much worse. The housewives still keep up the old tradition of brownstoning the front steps. And you can still buy a hot cooked meal at the shop around the corner.
And yet behind the apparent conformity of Fifties Britain, notes the historian Paul Addison, seismic changes were under way. When Reid had been in Salford in the 1930s, it had been a town afflicted by chronic unemployment, making it the ideal location for Walter Greenwood’s bestselling novel Love