thumbnail of The shadow of the lion; A Way of Life
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The shadow of the lion. Emerging from a memorable immovable past Britain today faces the formidable task of defining our future. And this is our story a story of truth from the stands can tell a lie and this is bottom apparition. Yesterday was his profile. Listen. Up tempo transition. Heard in London's comedy street in Coventry in Oxford and the rhythm of a new revolution in Britain.
The. Programme vive a way of life. From an Indiana University Radio documented essay about contemporary Britain. We present the shadow of the lion with William Kinzer as your net later. While British newspapers daily diagnosed the economic ills of the country the people of Britain meet the challenge of modern living with mixed feelings and a general disbelief that things really are as bad as they seem. After all there's been a rising standard of living full employment
ample evidence of affluence in the average English home. For better or worse things are changing even in the home. There's been several quite marked changes. The most obvious one is one which we share with the United States and that has been the advent of television. The effect of television on domestic life has been very considerable. You're listening to Norman Mackenzie sociologist lecturer at the University of Sussex. It means for example that the family tend to spend the evening together in one room that they stay in one room for much of the evening. Of all ages they often watching a television programme on one channel or another how much they watch how much they interrupt as a matter of individual choice but it does tend to provide a focal point in the home where people previously went out for entertainment they went to the movies or they were the husbands often spent a good deal of time in that English institution the pub the public house or drinking saloon. I think the
proportion of drinking outside for instance has declined as a result of that a good deal more beer is drunk in bottles for home consumption. Now that was the case even 15 years ago. It also means that the children tend to watch with the parents quite a lot of programs of some of them I'm afraid unsuitable programs in the late evening. The telly as they speak of it in Britain has three channels. BBC 1 BBC 2 and the commercial outlet called independent television except for a few school programmes and occasional sports or special event television in England just limited to late afternoon and evening viewing. Not only has TV physically provided a focal point for the home but the impact of its offerings has also played a prominent role in a changing British society. Advertising for instance.
1955 commercial television and taking advertising to every home for the first time you're talking to Tom Sutton director of the London office of J Walter Thompson advertising agency. He's 40 a boyish extrovert the quintessence of the modern advertising man. He joined the firm in 1949 fresh out of Oxford. He takes pride in the fact that although ultimately controlled in New York J Walter Thompson in London is thoroughly British with a complete British staff and from his desk beside a window overlooking Barclay Square. He is optimistic about what advertising in the stewing for Britain. I do think advertising particularly the advent of television and the vision advertising has painted rosier pictures of people made them things awakened latent. I made all the new products new opportunities. I think central heating is that it is a case in point.
We've been known for being a country where. There was no heating at all and our houses in our cars. And I think advertising it played a major role in bringing that industry to life and today you know new houses being built without central heating many houses are being converted. There's no car without heating in the car. Very different from 10 years ago. Again Norman McKinsey but recently ten years ago television was only just coming in as a domestic facility now approximately 90 percent of all households have a television set washing machines were almost exclusively middle class gadgets. Today 65 percent of English homes have washing machines of one type or another. Vacuum cleaners the same story a dramatic increase and in fact right across through a whole range of consumer durables there being one I'd say they increase from near zero to a very substantial proportion of the population.
It's amazing really as a paradox of Britain's national plight. Her people today enjoy more conveniences and comfort than ever before. Bumper to bumper traffic the Loom forests of television and tennis supermarkets central heating refrigerators installment buying all attest to a growing attention to personal needs and the capability of satisfying individual desires. Between 1956 and 1966 consumer expenditures rose by almost 50 percent and with it all again social pressures be fitting an affluent society to decry the fact about keeping up with the Jones because all of us want to at least attain a opposition none of us really to go down. And just because we can. Income structured boldly oppa coming in income sucked at the thought of the opposition it's a
competitive position now only thanks to tension of life. Ronald the brick is an economist. He has written several books including the Unilever forecast Britain Nineteen Eighty-Four in which he projects certain theories as to what British society will be like the generation hands especially the English attitude toward obsolescence. He speaks of it now as part of the tension of every day living room way of believing this tension of life is to hand. But we've got more space about them we have pain they don't complain how that hand picture window blocks the building in congested areas and the other way. Believing change and changing is buying new modern materials and manufacturing methods make it easy to change for Britons to declare old models obsolete. And they're doing it more and more as the engage in the new competitive struggle for social
status and as they buy more and more decisions must be made in the average English home says sociologist Norman McKenzie. There's been a change in the balance of authority. I think husbands are spending more time at home partly because they were shorter or they're the out of work of come down by two or three hours. By comparison with 30 years ago they have come down even more by comparison with my parents generation and the average English worker now including time travel will not be out of the home for more than about 10 hours in the day you get out in the morning and travel to work. Works an eight hour day comes home again and if he has more time to spend in the home. But also for a number of reasons. Sort of a complicated social and psychological reasons. I think the women have come to play a more important part in family decision making. The English father is no longer the stay all powerful Victorian father.
I think the many family decisions I made jointly by the husband and wife and in many families the elder children are now involved in decision making on things such as shall we buy this kind of car or that kind of car. So we go to this place for a holiday or to that place for a holiday. These become much more family patent decisions. Yes women figure more prominently in the pattern of contemporary British society. The white for instance the wife is involved increasingly in deciding how the money should be spent. And again this might be due in part to the fact that more wives are working. The big increase in our labor force in the last 10 to 15 years has come from married women entering employment. Many English families are two income families in need I think that knowledge of the apparent affluence in British society is dependent on women learning. If it weren't for this I don't think many families who keep up their
purchase on installment buying. I think the saddest thing of the installment debt in the family is often done out of the wife earning the lot of the British worker is very good indeed. Between 1960 and 965 overly earnings in British industry grew by 33 percent. Today he works shorter hours and for more pay than ever before in history. Even so he will likely choose to put him over time. This is come to be a common practice in Britain for the worker is much in demand with full employment and of course he seeks more pay to enjoy the material prosperity that abounds in Britain today. Yet in spite of spiraling wages and better working conditions productivity has lagged even in deference to the country's acute economic needs. A political scientist at Oxford University Geoffrey Marshall makes this point.
I think the postwar. Problem as I said been very largely and economically and to some extent a problem about the national character as much as the nature of political leadership. I don't take the view that people in this country are much softer or less hard working than Germans or Italian or French women. But you can at least make plausible suggestions in that direction. As I say we were question very launched in ensuring the 19th and early 20th centuries by our foreign investments and we're now in a period when we're having to live rather hard. But. As the shadow of the law. Lengthened in the twilight of transitional. Hard living is hardly evident in the face of the people. No Britain only has clothes. To watch the develop disease using the blanket of welfare state
provisions as a Cornish harbormaster candidly put it because I mean you know our early days there were only two sides of the question and that was definitely I mean there was the reaction the power or the reaction the middle class will put it that way the plural was never recognized. But now like I say a needed aid to the poor is recognized because if you can't get a week's work you've got the dark enough that you're going to eligible for that when you're a national substance I mean nobody in the country today is allowed to star. To a. Francis Curtis is a leathery faced fisherman. He's 61. The harbor master of Polperro quaint fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall. He's seen the specter of change over the years even in Polperro fishing has dwindled from a thirty two
boat fleet to an active group of only six. The town has turned to the tourists for its livelihood and Ford's existence. The young people ceased to work. The soft life prevails. Frankie as he's called harkens back to a time when welfare assistance didn't exist as it does today for all Britons. But back in my younger days. Yes there was no research saying that the poorer class wouldn't for about 90 days you know I had to go and earn your money where the manual labor was no target or trust and you can get no other way. Today it's different. And while most agree that Britain can ill afford her cradle to the grave concept of socialism it has nevertheless become deeply entrenched as a way of life. And though it is often criticized as robbing the populace of incentive as being subject to abuse as being
too expensive its good points are so good. Britons are loath to relinquish its benefits National Health for instance as explained by sociologist Norman McKenzie. We have had a national health service operating since 1947. Why didn't you knighted States has called socialized medicine in which we have been able to give a fairly good standard of medical coverage to the whole population. Cost which is borne very large out of taxation. The individual has a family doctor to whom he goes who often is and I will let individual as my family doctor but he had entitle to do ordinary medical care and hospitalized patients at no charge when he's sick and I think this is a pretty important underwriting of Public Health Welfare State contingencies have along with growing affluence contributed to an apparent wedding of the classes in Britain.
Not that there's a classless society. No the lines of demarcation are as indelible as ever told in speech habits or habitat. But there has been an equalization of opportunity of a wider distribution of wealth. A crossing of class barriers by the modern businessman and the enterprising meritocratic all classes have more leisure and more money to spend on it. And this too effects the pattern the British living. 100 years ago leisure in England was a sign of high social status. It was categorized in terms of class. The high and the low meeting only occasionally had a few national obsession such as cricket gardening or the races. But leisure is no longer a mark of the state. Instead today it's a problem. Shorter hours and substitutes for labor. A
computerised concept of modern living has helped to create an easy prosperous atmosphere indeed has actually undermined the old the attitude that work in itself is virtuous and self improving. With time on their hands them what are the English up to traditional leisure is losing ground. Most cinemas or movie houses have been turned into bingo halls. Audiences having dropped from over one billion three hundred million to just over four hundred million in a decade's time. Soccer or football is still the scene of wild scarf waving partisanship it's waning interest having been revived by the World Cup playoffs in 1066 which England incidentally runs cricket somehow seems the last stronghold of English gentility with its endless
afternoons of polite clapping and pavilion T. However here too tradition has been broken in recent years by boisterous West Indian supporters who have invaded the pitch to hug their heroes. And still heard among the hedgerows of the estates of high society. The sound of the hocked. While placard carrying vicars and peaked ladies protest cruelty to the fox. And betting shops in Britain are everywhere for gambling has become a national craze. Britons participate in everything from horse racing to Premium Bonds and in most homes it's a weekly ritual to place a few shillings on the football pools or to step up to play bingo was fun to do tonight.
Motor car racing is booming and there's been an upswing of interest in boats and sailing. Popular too is bowling and while every village has its green Britons have taken to the ten pin variety imported from America. For many of course leisure means a chance to pursue the arts or to enjoy an intellectual pastime night classes concerts exhibitions attract growing numbers. The British are buying and borrowing more books than ever. But leisure time is a time to begin and the English have become a nation of dancers not just a hip swinging twisting up tempo beat of the teenager. But the graceful sweep and style of battering finesse and precision.
Time dancing is a favorite with dance patterns called the military to step the shot in. The moonlight saunter. And that dashing white socks. Five million people go dancing at least once a week. Some four million dance halls about the country a like number or enthusiastically watch bedroom dancing competitions on television and the bedroom dancing championship of the world is perennially held by Britain. But of course leisure and affluence have made the greatest impact on the pattern of British holidays as university lecturer Norman McHugh MSI will tell you in a characteristic use of leisure of occasional leisure in England most for a working class man to go to the country or the seaside particularly with his family thought that the week was all he could afford and usually didn't get paid holidays.
Today's earning more and you get holidays with pay sometimes up to three weeks and you no longer going in such numbers to the seaside. He's going abroad about four million Britons now go abroad for their summer vacations. And this is about. An eighth of the population and I think this is a good time to begin to have an impact on our not I mean English people are learning more about the continent and other parts of the world where people live. Oh they were having an effect on the continent in fact we're opening fish and chip shops all over Europe to cater for the English tradition or does the English traditional diet has been considerably broadened in recent years partly because of this exposure to foreign food partly because of better communications and the availability of exotic or unusual fare. The American hamburger Chinese cooking and French cuisine are now quite common even in the provincial cities. And while many still prefer fish and
chips roast beef or kidney pie Britons have become more venturesome in their tastes especially in clothes. British fashions have become their more colorful kinkier and today they offer much more than the traditional quality of tweeds and woollens. But even though more Britons today are going farther afield for their annual outing many still prefer that summer week or two by the sea in Scarborough talky Bournemouth Brighton or Blackpool. Leishman often get the same week off take the same trip do the same things meet the same people and somehow find in this perennial pastime the pleasure of peace and satisfaction just in knowing what to expect. Often the only changeable thing is the weather.
But the weeks week holiday event holds a strange excitement as in the north of England where workers look forward to a week in Blackpool staying always at the same private hotel or boarding house care and in England during the summer close down completely for one week. That is when you factor in the shot. And work places and work all closed down for sometimes a week sometimes the full two week. Mrs. Frank ate with with her husband operates a small resident hotel in Blackpool. All the employees are given holidays with pay and they're expected to go away for that period to take their annual holiday. This is he worth describes the arrival of a typical British family probably from leaving the station they get a taxi and when they get here they all pile out.
Bring everything you seem to bring everything provide you know all the kitchen sink. But then I think it's because Blackpool can change the weather so quickly. Therefore they bring everything to cater for the in various types of weather. It can change so quickly they can go so cold and windy. Blackpool is noted for its breezes and therefore they bring something to keep them all off on the other hand something to go some bathing in. Why do they come on the absolved of Stoke on Trent. Welcome to block Hoover the modem you know because the stream please does me good. To come to me on to the winter morning. For most however Blackpool is fun. Hopefully there will be sunny and warm days of wading in shallow surf or or playing cricket on the sands. But if not there will always be the pubs the Pleasure
Beach the garish amusement centers the Golden Mile and the shows. The last vestiges of the old English musical or the modern extravagant musical reviews in the early days. There was even drama actor Charles Simon recalls. We played all the famous blood mellow drama the Lyceum melodramas of the Lancashire lasses in London Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and might or I am out in the Med or in the red bar on top of them on the subway out of voices calling on all the great drama of days gone by and a fortune was made out of it. And in those days Blackpool was always peculiar unto itself and in those days of course even though you were the most populist thought in the world it punished on people stayed out in the in the sun and on the front and didn't bother to go to your head. You could
stand on the steps of your fountain and work across the heads of the people out to see a quarter of a mile away they were so tightly packed. But not a single person came into the theater. If there was a cloud in the sky and it looked like raining they just filled your data. Not the slightest bit interested in whether you were playing Hamlet all night I am Martin. Didn't matter to them they just came in out of the rain and your house was packed and if it rained you played at 10:30 in the morning 2:30 in the Alta noon and two shows at night to try and get the money back you've lost through the fine weather. And quite often I've known an audience come in a 10:30 in the morning because it was raining and then the cleaning those who got paid by the hour and they didn't care or they wanted to get rid of the public if possible. They saw that the sun was now shining outside and so they crept in amongst the audience and whispered the sun shining outside. And while you were playing the second act the audience was disappearing back on to the beach again and you finished up by not playing with that act
because the audience would all go out because the sun was shining. I. Right. There is no greater evidence of change and revolution in Britain than that which is seen in the people themselves. Their response to a changing world is the basis of a new sometimes confusing world of when people are older cars bowling alleys and television. That me as of modern living so easily labeled the Americanized society Britons are adapting to new social pressures to an entirely new way of life. But it's a life though highly influenced by others and is still peculiarly British. From Indiana University Radio. We have presented a way of life programme five in a special series of documented essays about contemporary
Britain entitled The Shadow Of The Light as written and produced by a little boy about it when the narrator was William Kinzer production assistant was John Hopkins the engineer Phil Murphy program consultant Jeremy ward. This is John Dimmick speaking. In the shadow of the lion and it has been a series made possible by an Indiana University Faculty Research grad and is a presentation of Indiana University Radio. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
The shadow of the lion
A Way of Life
Producing Organization
Indiana University
WFIU (Radio station : Bloomington, Ind.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-m03xxq5v).
Series Description
For series info, see Item 3300. This prog.: A Way of Life. Family life and leisure in the British paradox of affluence and economic need; the changing patterns of work and pleasure in the tight little island.
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: Indiana University
Producing Organization: WFIU (Radio station : Bloomington, Ind.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-14-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:29
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The shadow of the lion; A Way of Life,” 1968-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “The shadow of the lion; A Way of Life.” 1968-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: The shadow of the lion; A Way of Life. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from