Remember the Three Day Week?

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Mean Mr Mustard
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Remember the Three Day Week?

Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

How many people here remember the 73/74 oil crisis and miners strike?

My parents were both in essential industry, so they weren't immediately affected by the three day week. We were lucky. A 40% pay cut following huge fuel hikes must have been a real kicking and bleak Christmas for many. I was 11 at the time, and I remember the price of my oil based Airfix kits and paints went up rapidly! It wasn't easy making model planes by candlelight, either. :)

Anyway, just did some digging on Wikipedia on the oil crisis and 3 day week -

"The (European) Community finally issued a statement on 6 November, after the embargo and price rises had begun; widely seen as pro-Arab, this statement supported the Franco-British line on the war and OPEC duly lifted its embargo from all members of the EEC. The price rises had a much greater impact in Europe than the embargo, particularly in the UK (where they combined with industrial action by coal miners to cause an energy crisis over the winter of 1973-74, a major factor in the breakdown of the post-war consensus and ultimately the rise of Thatcherism.

The global effect of the 1973 oil crisis also drove up the price of coal. The Heath government entered into negotiations with the NUM, to no avail. To reduce electricity consumption, and thus conserve coal stocks, a series of measures were announced on 1973-12-13 by Heath, including the "Three-Day Work Order", more commonly known as the Three-Day Week, which was to come into force at midnight on 31 December. Commercial consumption of electricity would be limited to three consecutive days each week.[1] Heath's objective was business continuity - survival. Rather than risk a total shutdown, working time was reduced with the intent of prolonging the life of available fuel stocks."
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Just looked on the Wikipedia discussion tab for this topic and found some interesting comment -

"From personal memory, there was also a rolling programme of power cuts and Television services were suspended after 9:30pm.

I was only 15, so do not remember clearly if this was part of the Three Day Week period or at another time close to it. Can anyone confirm this and provide more precise info for a page edit?

Definately, I remember maps being published in newspapers indicating which areas would get power cuts on which days (I was 19). If somebody could find a copy of these, it would make a great picture for this article. This article needs lots more content. I remember factories working either Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday or Thursday-Friday-Saturday depending on the power-cut rota. The phrase "Three-Day Week" is still thrown around, but most people are now too young to remember it and it is slowly getting forgotten. TiffaF 09:20, 13 December 2006"
aliwood
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Post by aliwood »

I am too young to remember 1973/4 but I do remember 1978/9. I remember power cuts and a bakers strike, although the memory of the second event is indelibly stamped in my head thanks to the absolutely solid and uncuttable loaf of bread my mother made (note - learn to bake before you have to). Has my brain remembered this properly? My mum worked in a supermarket at the time and they had no problem with supplies, but I seem to remember lots of cut price bacon and cheese as they couldn't keep it. I would guess from experience that milk would have been a problem although I don't remember.

I remember my parents once talking about the gas fire we had in our front room, apparently all the houses on our estate had used coal as it was easy to get in Leicestershire then. When the 1973/4 miners strike happened, a salesman came round and virtually the whole estate bought gas fires overnight on the weekly credit they offered.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

And on that point about no TV after 21.30... Seem to recall from somewhere that there was a mini-baby boom as a direct consequence...?
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Post by Vortex »

I borrowed most of our school's Physics lab's accumulators and wired the house with car headlight bulbs. The only house in the street with electric light!

I also remember Capital Radio bragging that they were "safe" against rolling power cuts because they had THREE different mains feeds plus a genny.

A few minutes later ... they went off the air ... came back up ... off the air ... came back up .... off the air for several minutes and came back up with a much weaker signal! The electricity union were on their case!
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Post by stumuz »

Do not remember the 73/74 three day week, but I certainly remember the 78/9 shortages. My dad was a small supermarket manager and I was helping (or more probably getting in the way ) to unload the delivery lorry.
The driver gave me a bag of sugar and a bottle of pop. On the way home 6? people stopped me and asked where I had got the sugar from.

Whilst doing some legal work for British sugar last year I was surprised at the problems they were having in relation to gas, I had not realised the huge amount of gas used to produce the sugar. The problems of the 70's if documented somewhere could be a good resource for life post peak.
Know your history and you will know your future.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Ah, yes, the 70s sugar shortage. We had a blob of honey in our tea instead... I remember my gran stockpiled bags for a long while afterwards. They ended up like solid housebricks - one lump or two? :D And as for the energy it takes to make sugar, not surprised. I often see the clouds of steam(?) generated by the huge Silver Spoon sugar beet processing factory at Bury St Edmunds.

Pondering some more on the 1973 crisis - the Yom Kippur war was in the October, embargo lifted in November, way expensive fuel followed that, and the 3 day week was declared by mid December. Wooo....

So... the country was on its knees within 10 weeks, from the two related crises. :shock: A very fast collapse, considering 'Just In Time' hadn't been invented then. Though similar conditions applied, because coal stocks had been depleted by a long-standing work to rule. The miner's dispute was about inflation vs wages, and I'm sure inflation will be play a big part in our future energy problems too.

And on the Capital Radio observation - what's the point of a wind-up radio, if no-one's transmitting - apart from our Dear Leader, who will doubtless claim that everything is under control? I intend to tune them out - I'll still have my 70s music on CDs via rechargable batteries on my walkman, or this laptop. I just need me an iPod (plays for longer?) and a solar recharger soon!

There may be a power cut
And the candle's burned down low
But something inside of me
Says the bad news isn't so

(Paul McCartney, from Red Rose Speedway, 1972)

cheers

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Post by Vortex »

And on the Capital Radio observation - what's the point of a wind-up radio, if no-one's transmitting - apart from our Dear Leader, who will doubtless claim that everything is under control? I intend to tune them out - I'll still have my 70s music on CDs via rechargable batteries on my walkman, or this laptop. I just need me an iPod (plays for longer?) and a solar recharger soon!
Have you watched Threads?

The post-apocalypse scene where they are glumly watching a dreadful educational VHS tape on a nearly broken TV system made me think.

A decent collection of education & entertainment DVDs plus player and solar system could really help sustain a belief in decency & civilisation ... even after a dreadful day in the fields.

Even a good collection of music and radio plays etc plus a player would be fantastic.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

So don't become some background noise
A backdrop for the girls and boys
Who just don't know or just don't care
And just complain when you're not there
You had your time you had the power
You've yet to have your finest hour
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

aliwood wrote:I would guess from experience that milk would have been a problem although I don't remember.
Milk wasn't a problem for most people because it was delivered to your door daily by the milkman almost direct from the farm. As was bread, from the local baker. Anyone remember that? That was in the days when supermarkets were about as big as a Tesco Metro store.

Sainsbury's store were large cool shops with marble all over the place and bisquits in glass topped tins in front of the counter for you to serve yourself. They had a glass topped display counter down each side with a shelf for your basket. You'd push your basket down the shelf and be served with the items you wanted, as you went, from shelves behind the counter. There was a pay desk at the end.

I also remember going to my grandparents in South Wales and being sent to the corner shop for butter. This came in a greaseproof paper lined tea chest, must have weighed a ton, and the shop owner would dig it out with wooden butter hands onto a set of scales, then tap it into shape when the right ammount was weighed. It was very yellow and more salty than ordinary butter. Delicious.

Ah! Nostalgia. I can't see any of that coming back after PO.

Then came the Three Day Week, followed by the Winter of Discontent, which resulted in Maggie Thatcher's union reforms, which Bleh has wisely kept.
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Erik
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Post by Erik »

Mean Mr Mustard wrote:And on the Capital Radio observation - what's the point of a wind-up radio, if no-one's transmitting - apart from our Dear Leader, who will doubtless claim that everything is under control?
Damn! Didn't think of that! So my new wind-up radio is going to become, at best, an ornament on the mantlepiece? Can't someone invent the wind-up radio station and wind-up transmitter and... No but seriously, I reckon someone will be transmitting somewhere (not just the government) and if you can pick up SW, LW as well as FM and MW, then you might have a better chance of finding something.
Mean Mr Mustard wrote:I intend to tune them out - I'll still have my 70s music on CDs via rechargable batteries on my walkman, or this laptop. I just need me an iPod (plays for longer?) and a solar recharger soon!
I'd like to keep a walkman going as a luxury item too. For me, the whole point of radio would just be to receive information from out there, signs of life etc (!), rather than to listen to music. I'm also a fan of 70s stuff and other music which I rarely find on the radio anyway!
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Post by MisterE »

I was only 4 :-) but remembered some stuff from 6 upwards :-) ahhhhh those were the days. I'd love to go back to that - had nowt other than all of the people around you - I think there is a modern term for it now, they call it community - we called it life :-)
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Being as I still enjoy some of what this decadent society has to offer, 8) there I was last night, listening to Kerrang channel on the TV - wall to wall rock vids, many from the 70s.

Then up come the Sex Pistols, :x hollering 'no future'. (from God Save the Queen). Seems they were wrong - the (surviving) members of that band have done quite well for themselves on the back of the celeb culture thing.

But why aren't the current young generation so much angrier than the 70s generation were? They really should be.

Mustard
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Erik
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Post by Erik »

Mean Mr Mustard wrote:But why aren't the current young generation so much angrier than the 70s generation were?
Could it be because there weren't any Playstations in the 70s?
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Post by mikepepler »

Erik wrote:
Mean Mr Mustard wrote:And on the Capital Radio observation - what's the point of a wind-up radio, if no-one's transmitting - apart from our Dear Leader, who will doubtless claim that everything is under control?
Damn! Didn't think of that! So my new wind-up radio is going to become, at best, an ornament on the mantlepiece? Can't someone invent the wind-up radio station and wind-up transmitter and... No but seriously, I reckon someone will be transmitting somewhere (not just the government) and if you can pick up SW, LW as well as FM and MW, then you might have a better chance of finding something.
That's my thinking too - if it's shortwave capable (as mine is), then if someone somewhere in the world is still transmitting then you have a chance of picking it up.
Mike

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