Shopping in Crouch End, 1948 style – featuring lots of prams

Pathe News screenshot from Crouch EndPathe News has a great clip from 1948 about someone going shopping in Crouch End. Note how even in the 1940s there were prams aplenty on the pavements – though back then only single-buggies, not today’s double-buggy plethora.

From about 50 seconds in you can see the main centre of Crouch End, still very recognisable as the same place today with pride of place for the Crouch End Clock Tower (the story behind which is though very much a story of the past).

You can also see pedestrians crossing the road outside what is now Budgens, which in the film has no pedestrian crossing. Had the film been made later in the year, you would be able to see the zebra crossing that was put in there during 1948, complete with what was then an experimental stripped pattern painted on the road and which is now a standard part of all zebra crossings.

The other thing that struck me was how the person being filmed was quite happy to park her baby in the pram outside the shop and then turn her back on it and walk away from it, entering shops to do her shopping and also, later in the film, a wonderfully unchanged Hornsey Town Hall. As the film is meant to be about a typical person going about their business, I’m sure that’s therefore representative of how many people behaved at the time – and very different from the ultra-cautious must-be-in-sight-at-all-times approach more usually seen today.

You can watch the Crouch End film on the Pathe Site here.

Hat-tip: Elaine Hansen

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, there’s a great discussion over on Harringay Online about this clip.




5 responses to “Shopping in Crouch End, 1948 style – featuring lots of prams”

  1. Such prams not, of course, for carting about in cars. Not also the large number of hats then being worn. Pity we don't wear them now, even in cold weather…

    • For all the talk about the internet speeding up information and news cycles, there's also often these very slow moving cycles of interesting information popping up years apart. Glad I saw it this time having missed it last time!

  2. I remember those bottles of cod liver oil and concentrated orange juice in the early 1950s. On the single buggy issue older children could walk in those days and still can. Perceptions of child safety have changed enormously over 64 years. The reality, I suspect, much less.

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