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"Home Sweet Home" 1970s & 80s reminiscence

This CST activities page is reminiscence based and about what things were like in the home in the 1970s and 80s.

As usual, questions are just for fun and aim to prompt discussion and reflection. Allow time for story telling and going off at tangents. Consider the CST activities page as just a guide.

Before starting, ask people where they grew up and who was at home.

Discuss how things are different now to then. Here's a few ideas:

- There was no 24 hour TV back then.

- There was no internet or mobile phones.

- People tended not to move house so often.

- Family roles were perhaps more traditional, with fewer working mothers.

- The household chores tended to be arranged for different days, e.g. Monday was 'washing day', Tuesday was 'baking day' etc.

- Shopping was more on the high street, with no supermarkets and different shops for products, e.g. butcher, baker, fishmonger, greengrocer.

- Sundays really did tend to be a 'day of rest'. Shops were closed and pubs shut early.

I'm sure there will be other differences to add to this list.


Complete these phrases together ...

There's no place like HOME

As safe as HOUSES

Get on like a house on FIRE

Lead (someone) up the garden PATH

Everything but the kitchen SINK

A man’s home is his CASTLE

A woman’s place is in the KITCHEN / HOME

Hit the ROOF

Smoke like a CHIMNEY

Skeleton in the CLOSET

Throw in the TOWEL

Keep the home fires BURNING

This is the house that Jack BUILT

Nothing to write home ABOUT

Home and DRY

Bring home the BACON

Throw money down the DRAIN

Until the cows come HOME

The chickens are coming home to ROOST

Something to write home ABOUT

Home is where the HEART IS

East West home is BEST

Make yourself at HOME


Do people remember Harry Secombe? He was one of 'The Goons'. Who were the others?


ROUND 1. In The Kitchen

1. What type of light is this? (They are no longer manufactured.)

CLUE. It starts with an 'F'.

2. What would call a pair of these?

CLUE. It's the name of a flower.

3. What would you call this type of washing machine?

CLUE. One side was for washing, the other side was for spinning.

4. What were these plastic containers collectively called?

CLUE. People used to have a party to trade in these!

5. What noise would this kettle make when it boiled?

CLUE. It was so you could hear it in the next room!

6. Before the teabag, how would you have made a cup of tea?

CLUE. You needed to let the teapot stand.

7. Back in the day, how would you have lit a gas stove?

CLUE. It is also the name of someone who flies a plane.

8. What is in this pot, which would have been kept near the cooker?

CLUE. Some people would eat it with bread!

9. What are these?

CLUE. They also came in the shape of fish and other patterns.

10. What type of surface often covered laminated kitchen worktops?

CLUE. It started with an 'F'.


11. Can anyone sing the 'Fairy Liquid' advert jingle? (Before we play it!)

12. Which brand of tea did chimps advertise?


13. While listening to this song, ask members to note as many ways of cooking eggs as they can?

ROUND 2. The Lounge

14. What number did you used to ring to get hold of 'The Operator'?

CLUE. It was three numbers long.

15. What speed are singles and LPs played at on a record player?

CLUE. They still are today!

16. What year was colour TV introduced in the UK?

CLUE. The first colour TV broadcast was 'An Evening With Petula Clark'.

17. What would usually be found in a 'coal fire set'?

CLUE. There were four items on a stand.

18. What type of radio is this?

CLUE. It starts with a 'T'.

19. People used to smoke at home a lot. What year (nearest guess) was the first health warning printed on cigarette packets?

FACTOID. By 1980, 42% of men and 37% of women smoked. (Today's figures are 27% and 25% respectively).

'Players No 6' was the top selling brand in that year.

20. Whose house in the TV soap 'Coronation Street' had flying ducks on the wall?

CLUE. Her initials are H.O..

21. Who was having a 'Party' in this 1977 drama?

CLUE. Her name began with an 'A'.

22. What was this 1970s TV sitcom called?

CLUE. It was about Tom & Barbara, who gave up the 'rat race' to live self sufficiently in suburbia.

23. What was the leading brand of vacuum cleaner in the 1970s?

Can anyone describe how you would empty it?


24. Can anyone remember how the 'Shake N Vac' advert jingle used to go? (Before we play it!)


25. While this song is playing, think about cleaning the house back then. List some of the household chores you had to help with and products you would use.


- 'Brasso'

- 'Windowlene'

- 'Pledge'

- 'Lavender Polish'

ROUND 3. Upstairs

26. How would this bathroom set have been made?

CLUE. Look closely. You might have followed a 'Paton's' pattern.

27. What other medicated item might you have needed after using this toilet paper?

CLUE. It was a pain in the ....!

28. Name some other old soaps? Beginning with ...

P -

I.L. -

C -

L -

F -

L -

29. What colour is this bathroom suite?

CLUE. Fruit.

30. What did they call this?

CLUE. It was a misnomer!

31. What is this?

CLUE. You had to boil a kettle to fill it.

32. What is this?

CLUE. It would go over you, not under you.

33. What is this?

CLUE. An alarm clock would start it working.

34. Name this TV sitcom?

CLUE. Torquay.

35. What would often wake you at 4 or 5am in the morning?

CLUE. It couldn't sink!

36. What other things would get delivered?

Make a list ...


37. Ask members to think of some other old perfumes and aftershaves. Maybe the first they used to wear, or their favourite?

38. Listen carefully. What two animals are playing in the first verse of this song?

39. For some extra points, list some common hats.

40. Which mountains and which river are mentioned in the song?

41. Where were they sitting at the start of the song?

42. On which day of the week is the song set?


Some old fashioned sweets, foods & drinks are still available for sale today. Try some of them, by way of a tasting session.

Here are some suggestions: ... (Members may have others to add.)

Alternatively, some abstract painting always goes down well!

Make something to hang on the wall of your house.


'The Goons' were Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine

1. Fluorescent Bulb

2. Marigold Gloves

3. Twin Tub

4. Tupperware

5. Whistle

6. Brewed it and Strained it

7. Pilot light

8. Dripping

9. Jelly moulds

10. Formica

11. *

12. PG Tips

13. Fried, Boiled, Poached, Scrambled, Omelette, Eggs Benedict

14. 100

15. 45 rpm / 33 rpm

16. 15 November 1969

17. Poker, Brush, Tongs & Shovel. There was also a Brush and a Scuttle, so extra points for those

18. Transistor

19. 1971

20. Hilda Ogden

21. Abigail

22. 'The Good Life'

23. 'Hoover' / You needed to change the bag

24. *

25. Cleaning the brass, Cleaning the windows, Dusting, Polishing the floor etc

26. Knitted

27. Haemorrhoid ointment

28. Pears or Palmolive

Imperial Leather





29. Avocado

30. Safety Razor (Gillette)

31. Hot Water Bottle

32. Electric Blanket

33. Teasmaid

34. 'Fawlty Towers'

35. Milk Float

36. Coalman, Milkman, Baker man, Corona pop man, Ice cream van etc

37. 'Old Spice', 'Brut', 'Denim', 'Blue Stratos' / 'Anais Anais', 'Charlie', 'Chanel No 5' etc

38. Deer & Antelope

39. Flat cap, Bobblehat, Baseball cap, Bowler, Top, Fedora, Panama, Boater, Trilby, Fez, Wide brim etc

40. Blue Ridge Mountains & Shenandoah River

41. Railway Station

42. Sunday


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