1947 London

Ihave discovered at 33 Charlotte Street (entrance in Rathbone Street), a restaurant called 1947 London, once this virus malarkey is over I’ll have to have a curry there.

In 1947, London was a different place, and it was a world I was about to join in Fitzrovia, a stone’s throw from Rathbone Street.

Not that I was born in a restaurant you understand, but at the adjacent Middlesex Hospital, now demolished and turned into a shopping venue with the prosaic name of ‘Mid Town’.

Among My Souvenirs by Frank Sinatra was No. 1 for 4 weeks during which time I was born.

The top fiction book of the year was The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janne, while the non-fiction leader was Peace of Mind by Joshua L. Liebma. No me neither.

In 1947 the top-selling movie was Gentleman’s Agreement starring Gregory Peck, with everyone watching the film in a cinema, just imagine the packed seats and no popcorn. Ealing Studios released Hue and Cry starring Alastair Sim, regarded as the first of the Ealing Comedies.

In 1947 British coal mines were nationalised. Kenneth Arnold made the first widely-reported UFO sighting near Mount Rainier, Washington. Mikhail Kalashnikov designed his eponymous gun the AK-47 assault rifle, probably responsible for more deaths than any firearm.

Conversely the Nobel Peace Prize that year went to Friends Service Council, and not the inventor of the world’s most successful gun.

George Orwell started his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, picturing a totalitarian Big Brother regime controlling its citizens from a building based on Senate House in Bloomsbury adjacent to Fitzrovia.

Back to the war theme, The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was established, and accurate ballistic missiles were created. Iceland declared a peaceful independence from Denmark. But Britain decided to create its very own atomic bomb, just at the time of major cuts in power supply due to shortages of fuel with the temporary suspension of BBC television from the beginning of the year until 11 March. Broadcasting was up and running though by the 20th November as 400,000 watched Princess Elizabeth marry Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey.

On 14th March the Thames flooded as that exceptionally harsh winter ended with a thaw. Charlton won the FA Cup at Wembley.

The post-war baby boom reached its peak in March, with the year ending with a record 829,863 births.

Oh yes! Soft toilet paper first went on sale at Harrods.

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