10 signs Sundays have dramatically changed since our childhoods

March 1, 2015

cassette tape

This weekend I read the news that the Radio 1 Top 40 music chart show could be due to change from a Sunday to Friday. ‘What?!’ I thought, and then I thought again. When when was the last time I actually listened? Ten years ago? Twenty?  I realised it’s less about the music, and more the idea of a change to a loved and lost end of the weekend tradition, and another relic of my own childhood my children won’t ever experience.

Then the more I thought about it, the more I remembered how much Sundays as a whole have changed. Sundays now can be spent doing exactly what you want to do; spending money, eating in cafes and restaurants, or vegging out in the pub all day reading the papers and drinking pints (ah, life pre-children).

But  if you grew up in the 80s and early 90s, then Sunday really was the day of rest. If Saturday was all about fun – the joy of no school, swimming, shopping, the big event of Saturday night TV – then Sunday was always the slightly less spectacular sister.

Here’s ten ways Sundays have totally changed since we were children:

  1. You could only really go for a walk or a Sunday drive, because everything else was shut
  2. Because back then, everything was shut on Sundays. Shops, the cinema, museums, even the supermarket
  3. The only place that was vaguely open was the petrol station, for emergency bread or batteries (and my parents were always slightly scared the vicar would see them going in)
  4. There were the special Sunday morning cartoons, which your dad would watch with you while your mum had a lie-in, way, way before the dawn of 24 hour kids TV on 30+ channels
  5. And back then, if Saturday evening was TV gold (Gladiators!) then Sunday, in comparison, was your equivalent of dull metal (Songs of Praise and Antiques Roadshow). At least now we have multiple channels, Netflix, on-demand, catch-up, DVDs. But hearing the Ski Sunday music will always take you right back
  6. Sunday was always hair washing day for everyone
  7. You had to eat a Sunday roast dinner that took all day for your parents to cook. Even if you really fancied something else, it was just what everyone did
  8. And in this pre-gastro era, no-one would dream of going to the pub on Sundays, especially not to get a roast that they hadn’t spent all day cooking
  9. And of course, there was the huge deal of the top 40 chart show. Taping it off the radio, having hundreds of chart show tapes pilled up in your room, the quick fingered stop-and-record challenge of trying to get a good version of your favourite song without the DJ talking over the top…
  10. …and waiting till 6.58 on a Sunday to find out who was number 1 and the genuine excitement about who it was (but it was, of course, always Bryan Adams).

But some things never change:

  1. You’d spend the evening doing homework you’d conveniently forgotten about, attempting to hide it from your mum, her always finding out and shouting at you for not doing it on Friday night. I can’t imagine this will change with our children, except we will be the mum
  2. The Sunday night feeling of dread. This never really goes away, does it? Even with the vaguely outnumbered idea that it’s just you vs the kids for the rest of the week.

Hope everyone’s had a good weekend. Never fear; only five days till the next one x.

And the ultimate list of things to do before you have a baby, and ten great things you can only do once you’re a parent.

Image via Wikimedia Commons CC 3.0


  • Slummy single mummy

    March 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Haha, it always WAS Bryan Adams! I always used to tape the Top 40. Often I spent the weekends at my friend Maddie’s house and we would walk to said garage to buy Cadbury fruit and nut and see how far into the chart we could make it last.

  • Keith (grandad according to Eliza!)

    March 2, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Sunday was even quieter in the 50s. Sunday dinner (not lunch) at my Grans with just me and my older brother followed by jigsaws and whatever the Light Programme (BBC Radio 2 for those less ancient than me) had to offer in their Sunday afternoon comedy slots. The corner sweet shop was open though! The real joy was that you could kick a ball in the street though as on our street only one person owned a car.

    1. gillian

      March 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

      This actually sounds lovely! Was this pre-chart show then? 😉 x

  • Fiona

    March 2, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Haha, I remember taping so many songs off the radio and then being TERRIFIED the police would arrest me when I found out it was illegal. x

  • Lori

    March 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Although I never used to listen to the top 40 ( i swear I was the only kid who didn’t) i do remember the joys of saturday night tv with my folks, gladiator or blind date lol. x

  • Morna piper

    March 3, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Gladiators! Oh how we loved it. I still have some mix tapes with songs I taped off the radio. We’re often in the car during the chart show and it always brings back happy memories. I will be devastated if they change it.

    1. gillian

      March 25, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Just heard they are definitely changing it to Fridays! Sad times x

  • Laura

    March 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This really made me smile – everything on the list is soo true!! especially the last minute homework on a Sunday night

    Laura x

  • Polly

    March 3, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    oh gosh! so long since I listened to the charts – was once the highlight of my sundays!

  • Susan Mann

    March 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I remember these oh so well, with the exception of the roast, my mum was a terrible cook. Taping the chat show & had a portable tape player. Loved my Sindy’s & flower fairies x

    1. gillian

      March 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

      Funny how some things were completely universal! I really don’t like Sunday roasts now 🙂 x

  • laura redburn

    March 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    haha, this made me feel so nostalgic and i kept thinking back upon my own memories…interspersed with laughing!

  • Lottie :: Oyster & Pearl

    March 6, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I kinda miss tape recorders… That scribbly noise when you rewind or fast forward without pressing stop first. Love it.

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