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Between 1947 and 1959, the amount of television licences that had been sold increased very rapidly from only 0. 1 million to almost 10 million. The coronation was in 1953 and the largest increase in the amount of televisions that had been sold was between 1953 and 1959. This tells us that most of the people that brought televisions during this time period did not only buy them because of the coronation as the majority were sold in the years following it.
Therefore, from this evidence we can tell that there must have been other reasons besides the coronation why the television became such a popular accessory. In 1953 queen Elisabeth was crowned. All of the people in England were able to view this on television sets, and it became clear that seeing it on television would be a lot better, and you would see a lot more than if you went to London and saw it in real life, because obviously access to the cathedral and the grounds around it would be very limited. People idolised the monarchy, and respected them hugely.
As a consequence, the amount of television sets increased that were being sold. The coronation of the queen was quite a significant reason that the number of televisions that had been sold increased so much from 1947 to 1959. However, there were a lot of other reasons resulting in huge increases in television sales. Firstly, the television was an extremely riveting source of entertainment, like it is nowadays too. Television prices also dropped very rapidly in the year or two leading up to the coronation.
People wanted not only to be entertained by the coronation of the queen, they wanted more from their money, they brought televisions so as to give them more options for things to do. It was thought that children especially would benefit from the new entertainment that was given by the television, as they were expected to amuse themselves. A man in 1920 remembers what life was like for him when he was a child – “we played marbles, tip-cat, flicking cigarette cards, hide and seek, hopscotch, all in the due seasons.
Most children could not afford wooden hoops when that season came around, but an old bicycle wheel with a tyre made a good substitute. ” This extract from a conversation with a friend in the 80’s tells us that there were a few things for children to do, but most of them involved being outside, and to be outside, the weather must be good, and you can never rely on the weather. If it was raining or snowing and the children could not go out, it would leave very little for them to do, and the few things that they could do, would probably get boring after a while.
So a television would mean that the children always had something to occupy them, and no one could ever get bored of television because there are so many different programs – it was a better quality of entertainment than had been seen before. Secondly, people’s wages and liesure time were increasing at this time, which meant that more people could afford televisions when they could not before. And if they still did not earn enough to buy a television straight away because they wanted to see the coronation, they could take up the option of hire purchase.
This was when poorer people who could not afford to buy a television all in one payment, were allowed to pay the shop owner who sold them the television back in smaller, more manageable instalments – but people still needed these higher wages to pay the instalments. Thirdly people were beginning to be given a lot more leisure time from their employees and this meant that they needed more to occupy them and so this reason (along with their increased wages) meant that a lot more people decided to buy televisions simply because they could and because they had more spare time to watch them, so it was not a waste of money at all.
Fourthly – many people simply brought televisions because they were a form of new technology, and they were so fascinated by them. They wanted and needed a part of this extraordinarily intelligent machinery in their homes. Also, people were more inclined to buy televisions because the number of television transmitters increased, meaning that television was available to a lot more people, and there were a lot more programs on show.
Fifthly, probably one of the most important reasons that television sales increased so much was because to have a television aerial up on your roof, was a huge status symbol, and, in the words of a man aged 60, describing his early memories of television – “You could tell from the aerials who had and hadn’t got sets. I remember that we were one of the first three in the road to get one. If you had a car and a TV set, you’d really arrived. ” From this extract, we can see how very important having a television was to a lot of people – and just for a slightly higher status.
And lastly, there were bound to be other popular national events happening that would be broadcast on television, and a lot of people also brought televisions so as to ensure that they had a television to see them. So, in conclusion, the coronation did help a little in starting the sudden rise in the amounts of televisions being sold, but mostly, people brought televisions for more personal reasons, i. e. for a better status, for better entertainment, and simply to have a little bit of the new technology that was sweeping the nation and completely fascinating everyone.