Sunday 21 January 2018

Rolling back the years: October 1953

The big stories from down through the decades

The yoke's on me: Three-year-old Paul Moorman laughs after his pet hen laid an egg in his lap while he was cuddling her. He ate the egg for breakfast the following morning. In October 1953, the export of Irish eggs to Britain resumed as egg rationing ended there.
The yoke's on me: Three-year-old Paul Moorman laughs after his pet hen laid an egg in his lap while he was cuddling her. He ate the egg for breakfast the following morning. In October 1953, the export of Irish eggs to Britain resumed as egg rationing ended there.

Damian Corless

In October 1953 a little-known revolutionary named Fidel Castro was imprisoned in Cuba for his part in a violent attempt to overthrow the country's US backed President Fungelico Batista. He was released after just a year and would himself become President in 1961.

There was a warming of relations between the neighbouring islands of Ireland and Britain throughout 1953.

Britain had introduced a range of Spartan food rationing measures during World War II, which had led to heavy customs searches of Irish visitors entering Britain to prevent food smuggling.

The British government finally relaxed its ban on sweet and chocolate imports from Ireland, but it remained illegal to bring in or mail dried or canned fruits. By October, Irish travellers were getting used to the fact they could bring in confectionary approved by HM Customs "for personal use, and not for merchandise or for sale". Late in the year the export of Irish eggs to Britain also resumed as egg rationing ended there.

Jelly Babies finally became Jelly Babies. The sweets were born in 1864, and given the strangely cruel name of Unclaimed Babies. They were rebranded in October 1918 as Peace Babies to mark the end of the Great War. Their final name change came in late 1953 when they became Jelly Babies.

There was a glut of chocolate on the Irish market in the autumn of 1953 thanks to a combination of mild weather and a big spurt in the growth of grass during the summer months. The upshot was that all of the country's chocolate factory workers had been put on overtime. According to one report: "Dublin's chocolate factories are taking on more and more hands in order to keep working right around the clock to cope with the greatest supply of surplus milk that ever flowed into Dublin. One city supplier said: 'I've never seen anything like it.'

The chocolate was shared around at "television parties" where, for the first time, the new medium replaced the fireplace as the centre of Irish social life.

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Irish Independent

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