Archive Homepage

Marriage in the 1950s and 60s | From wedding vows to happily ever after?

About this collection

After World War II, during which most women worked outside the home as part of the war effort, everything changed. As the men went back to their jobs, the women were expected to return to their role as housewives, dependent on their husbands for an allowance.

This collection looks back at marriage in the post-war years of the 1950s and 60s, with emphasis on the role of women. It also shows the beginning of social changes, such as divorce reform and the introduction of the contraceptive pill, which impacted on wedlock.

Marriage in the 1950s and 60s Collection

Evelyn Gibbs.

Woman's Hour

1000th Edition

RECORDED 1950
5 MINUTES

Which qualities helped to make an 'ideal' 1950s wife?

A bride.

Any Questions?

BROADCAST 1955
3 MINUTES

A white wedding and a honeymoon or a house deposit?

A woman 'spinster'.

Any Questions?

BROADCAST 1955
3 MINUTES

When does spinsterhood start?

A couple entering Gretna Green in the 1950s.

Tonight

Gretna Green

BROADCAST 1957
2 MINUTES

Teenage runaways head for Gretna Green.

A 1950s housewife.

Panorama

Family Budgets

BROADCAST 1957
10 MINUTES

How do women spend their housekeeping?

A housewife smiles as she does the cooking.

Eye to Eye

Now We Are Married

BROADCAST 1958
29 MINUTES

A 'day in the life' of three married couples.

A young woman in the 1960s.

Mosaic of Youth

BROADCAST 1959
1 MINUTE

Teenagers' views on sex and marriage.

Panorama Logo from 1962.

Panorama

Divorce

BROADCAST 1963
17 MINUTES

Will changing the divorce law make Britain more 'divorce minded'?

Suburbia in the 1960s.

Marriage Today

A Social Institution

BROADCAST 1964
40 MINUTES

The social changes affecting marriage in post-war UK life.

A bride and groom cut their wedding cake.

Marriage Today

Intimate Union

BROADCAST 1964
40 MINUTES

The good, the bad and the purpose of marriage in the 1960s.

An engagement and wedding ring.

Marriage Today

An Excellent Mystery?

BROADCAST 1964
41 MINUTES

Is marriage out of date or does it still have relevance in modern society?

Eleanor Bron.

Enquiry

A Woman's Place

BROADCAST 1965
33 MINUTES

The movers and shakers of 1965 on women and marriage.

A ring on an open page of the bible.

Man Alive

Living in Sin

BROADCAST 1966
29 MINUTES

Why are modern couples rejecting traditional values?

A young boy holding his new sibling.

Man Alive

Marriage Under Stress: 1: Children

BROADCAST 1967
29 MINUTES

How children have altered the lives of young married couples.

A wedding cake figurine of a bride.

Man Alive

Marriage Under Stress: 2: Breaking Point

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

Some of the reasons for the breakdown of marriage are explored.

Divorce papers.

Man Alive

Marriage Under Stress: 3: Put Asunder

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

Life after divorce in the 1960s.

A bride in the 1960s.

Man Alive

For Richer, for Poorer

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

An invitation to the wedding of Norma and Barry - and Diana and Tim.

A 1950s housewife.

Washes Whiter

She's Not a Moron - She's Your Wife

BROADCAST 1990
50 MINUTES

Why are white shirts and shiny floors the sign of a good woman?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.