Around the 1920s – The Roaring Twenties – The Charleston, Black Bottom and more …

I’m quite happy to brag about my recent work. Being asked by one of, or maybe even the largest supplier of education materials to our schools, to create interactive history resources for our classrooms has been a very proud moment for me. To be honest, it’s been more than a moment. Researching, checking, double checking and preparing age related materials has taken months, a few strong coffees, late nights and a new pair of reading glasses. But it’s been a totally rewarding process where I’ve learned so much more along the way.

Based on Happy Days Dementia Workshop’s Reminiscence Boxes, teachers will have a collection of artefacts and response resources at their finger-tips to assist creative history lessons for our young students.

During the research process for history boxes, I turned up all sorts of interesting information, got a closer look at lifestyles during the decades of the past century and come across some fabulous music and dance – my favourite of all time, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – How couldn’t it be? But more of the fantastic dance duo later. As we all know, music and dance is a fabulous way to engage everyone and especially ideal to encourage exercise and social interaction for elderly and people living with dementia.

So here’s a whistle-stop tour, beginning with the 1920s –

The Roaring Twenties – The Charleston, Black Bottom and more …

The 1920s, known as The Roaring Twenties was a time of prosperity, when the Rag Time / Jazz music era, dancing the Charleston and later, this cute little dance number; The Black Bottom [bound to keep anyone fit and healthy], became popular. Here’s a peep to get your toes tapping …

Hear and see The Black Bottom dance – Click here

After WWI ended, travel became more popular with commercial flights, resurrected railways and mass production of the car by Henry Ford which began in the early 1900’s. Coal fields were prospering. Britain enjoyed a housing boom. Consider how inventions have changed the way we live: 1924: William Howard Livens invented the first home dishwasher but not many people owned one. 1920 Hand held hairdryer – 1924 Frozen Food – Pop up Toaster – 1927 Aerosol Sprays – 1927 Electric Razor – 1928 ‘Iron Lung’ – Penicillin – Brylcreem. People had more time for leisure and organised sports: Boxing – Tennis – Golf – Hiking – Cycling.

In 1920, women at Oxford University could receive degrees and by 1928, due to extreme efforts of the Suffragette movement, women over 21 were allowed to vote. Employed in the factories during 1914-18 war, women now had more independence. Becoming more socially aware and engaged, women were seen wearing looser styles, shorter skirts, cloche hats and more make-up. In 1921, Coco Chanel produced the famous Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Britain’s first live public broadcast came from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford. Licenses to broadcast from all over the UK resulted in the formation of private company BBC in 1922 with it’s first broadcast that year. The British Broadcasting Corporation was formed in 1927, ensuring fair and unbiased news and information. John Logie Baird demonstrate the d the first mechanical television and in 1927, the first ‘Talkie’ film, ‘The Jazz Singer’ was shown in New York, and in UK 1928.

The Education Act raised the school leaving age to fourteen. Toys included home-made wooden toys – Hand painted metal transport toys -Teddy Bears – Paper doll dress up – Paddle ball – Hornby Train Sets – *Snakes and Ladders Meccano [made from metal, not the bright coloured plastic we see today].

Later in the 1920s with unemployment above two million, disease was rife. In 1926, unemployment led to the Great Strike. In 1929 The Wall Street Crash in America affected the World. Britain plummeted into The Great Depression and poverty which continued into 1930s. But all was not lost: The first World Cup Football Game took place in 1930 and where would we be without football?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the brief tour. If you would like to know more about Decades History Boxes for schools, young people’s ‘All About Me’ early intervention resources or Reminiscence Boxes, Baskets & Suitcases to help care teams enrich social care in residential and dementia care homes or hospitals, please email: To see our range of interactive and tactile materials, meaningful wall art, replica shops, themed rooms, murals, nostalgic games, reminiscence baskets, nostalgic and bespoke games and large piece jigsaws, Visit:

*Happy Days Snakes and Ladders Chat Time – is based on the traditional board game but with the addition of chat prompts to help people reminisce and engage in meaningful conversations.

It’s not all about winning, sometimes just talking is enough to enrich social care and a sense of well-being.