The 1930s: Bicycles, sliced bread and the wireless

Queen in 1930s

Princess Elizabeth (later the Queen) at Windsor in the 1930s

As Britain celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday Kate, Parish Assistant, has been talking to a variety of people of our church and area about their childhood years in the different decades of the Queen’s life. In the entries for each decade we will include artwork for the years done by children of St Chrysostom’s School.

We begin this series with Dr Noel Preston who told Kate of his childhood in the 1930s. Noel was the son of the Rector of St Chrysostom’s, and his childhood was spent locally.

Noel remembers his childhood as disciplined. In those years there were those who believed (rightly as it turned out) that the First World War was not the end of hostilities with Germany – army cadet corps were common, and Noel was a member of one.

Life at home was simple and uncomplicated. School was six days a week and there was homework each evening.

Noel with his father at the Rectory.

Noel with his father at the Rectory.

Noel enjoyed playing with his train set, and going cycling with his family.

Sometimes he would go on cycling expeditions – with a sandwich, chocolate and a banana for lunch. At home there were family games and with his family he would listen to the ‘wireless.’

Food was very plain compared with today. Common fare included, meat, fish, chicken, potatoes and vegetables.

In the late 30’s war rationing using coupons was introduced and this made a big difference. The diet became very restricted but they never went hungry.


(Click on the image for a clearer view)

As the Rector’s son Noel went to Church, St Chrysostom’s, twice on a Sunday.  There were slightly more women in church than men. There were no refreshments after worship. The congregation was entirely white, but with a wide age range.

Noel’s family didn’t have a car. Cars were far less common than they are today. Transport was by bicycle, tram or train. Summer holidays were usually in or the south coast.

While on a family cycling holiday on the Isle of Wight in 1939 news came through that Hitler had invaded Poland. Noel’s father felt it was wise to curtail the holiday and travel back to Manchester.

For memories of the decades see: 1990s,  1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, and the 1930s


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
This entry was posted in Anglican, Chorlton on Medlock, Manchester, St Chrysostoms Church, St Chrysostoms School and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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