Scarborough over 60s share the best things about growing up 50 years ago

Playing outside until it got dark, sweets costing a penny and making dens, have been named as some of the best things about being a child 50 years ago '“ according to the over 60s in Scarborough.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 5th February 2017, 12:00 pm
Grandpa and his grandson crafting wooden toys together in a workshop
Grandpa and his grandson crafting wooden toys together in a workshop

New research showed that simple pleasures like playing marbles, playing hide and seek and listening to music on record players are what the over 60’s in Scarborough most treasure about their childhood.

Trips to the sweets shop, climbing trees and collecting shells on the beach were also listed as cherished memories, the poll by the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, found.

According to the poll, 97% of adults in Scarborough aged 60 and above, said it was better being a child 50 years ago, than it is now.

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A total of 99% said children were much better at making their own entertainment years ago. And 98 percent said they learned far more practical skills ‘back in their day’.

Fortunately, 83% of grandparents in Scarborough said they passed on their wealth of knowledge to their grandchildren.

Good table manners, card games and how to ride a bike, were among some of the skills Granny and Granddad share. As were Jigsaw puzzles, how to plant a seed and swimming.

Liz Green, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for McCarthy and Stone, which conducted the poll to mark its 40th anniversary and partnership with older people’s charity, Royal Voluntary Service, said: “These findings illustrate how things have changed in the last 50 years and how grandparents are shaping their grandchildren’s childhoods by sharing their own experiences of growing up.

“They also show that practical skills are being passed down through the generations such as baiting a fishing hook and cooking a traditional Sunday roast.

“By passing on these talents the older generation are ensuring valuable and practical skills won’t die out.”

The findings were released to launch the search for GrandMakers as part of Royal Voluntary Service’s annual GrandFest – a one day festival taking place on June 18 in London.

The event celebrates talented older people and the heritage skills they can pass on to the younger generation. Individuals aged 70 plus will be invited to volunteer to teach at a GrandFest masterclass or those aged 60 plus at a GrandFest event at a McCarthy & Stone development, where they will be able to share, learn, or brush up on their skills in crafts such as jam making, wood turning, weaving and more.

TV and radio personality, Gloria Hunniford, is lending her support to McCarthy & Stone and Royal Voluntary Service in their search for GrandMakers.

78 percent of those polled were in agreement that young people had a lot to learn from the older generation and 60 percent said part of being a grandparent was passing on your skills.

Nearly 24 percent said their own grandparents taught them invaluable life skills so they want to recreate that with their own grandsons and daughters.


1. Good table manners

2. Jigsaw puzzle

3. Card games

4. Riding a bike

5. How to plant a seed

6. Swimming

7. Skimming a stone

8. Dominos

9. How to polish shoes

10. Identifying plants and flowers

11. The proper way to lay a table

12. Identifying birds

13. Making a perfect pot of tea

14. Make a daisy chain

15. Sewing buttons on

16. Perfecting a roast dinner

17. Knitting

18. Putting up a tent

19. How to whistle

20. Clicking your fingers


1. Playing outside until it got dark

2. Having respect for your elders

3. Knowing all your neighbours

4. Sweets costing a penny

5. Making dens

6. Playing marbles

7. Playing hide and seek

8. Listening to music on record players

9. Trips to the sweet shop

10. Climbing trees

11. Owning a few toys and playing with them for hours

12. Collecting shells on the beach

13. Reading Enid Blyton books

14. Playing conkers

15. Sherbert dips

16. Skipping

17. Playing hopscotch

18. Swinging on ropes in the woods

19. Collecting stamps

20. Playing football in the dark