Sunday, 13 June 2010


Imagine for a moment that you need to place a classified advertisement in a Gothenburg newspaper. Now this would not be a difficult task if you lived in Sweden. You could perhaps look up the phone number in a directory and call them.

But for the sake of this exercise you live in England. How will you set about the task? I'm going to reveal my amazing mind-reading powers and predict that your plan involves making a search on the Internet - right?

However, when I needed to place this advert, it was 1967 so there were no home computers let alone internet. So what did I do first in order to accomplish my mission?

While you are thinking how you will achieve this, it's worth reflecting on just how reliant we are on computers and the internet for such matters. However did we survive before they existed?

The way in which I began the task was to contact what was my first port of call whenever I needed help. I went to "The Citizens' Advice bureau", an amazing organisation who could find out anything about anything. Their offices were manned by volunteers back then and it was a free service.

It was set up as a temporary measure but is just celebrating it's 70 year anniversary! Their brief history is as follows:

"In 1938 when the prospect of a world war loomed, the National Council of Social Services, the forerunner of today's National Council of Voluntary Organisations, established a group to look at how to meet the war-time needs of the civilian population. The group recommended that Citizens Advice Bureaux be established, particularly in the large cities where 'social disorganisation may be acute'.

War was declared on 3 September 1939 and the first 200 bureaux opened on 4 September. Arrangements for bureaux varied wildly; one even operated out of a horsebox. Seven decades later we are, each year, advising two millions clients on six million problems from 3,300 locations."

Back in 1967 they managed to locate a firm in London who could perform the service for me and my mission was soon accomplished. You may wonder why I needed to place the advert but this will be the subject of another post.


  1. Hmm, intriguing - can't wait for the 'other post' but then I am nosey like that. ;)

  2. Hi Tony! It is amazing what the internet will allow us to accomplish these days. I know I'm so dependent on my laptop, I'm not sure how I ever went without one. Oh yeah it's called paper and pen. LOL Cheers!

  3. Oh I remember them thar Dark Ages! lol

  4. I liked things when they worked with just an on/off switch