I don't get the local newspaper anymore, I stopped its delivery 14 years ago, (1995). The milkman used to deliver the milk, from his horse-drawn milk-van, but he stopped ages ago. The horse would move down the street and stop at the customer's houses without any direction from the milkman.
The bread used to be delivered daily when I was a kid, and a big truck used to stop outside our house on Thursdays, selling fruit and vegetables. I can even remember the ice man delivering blocks of ice for the ice-chest before we bought our first fridge.
Grandma had a washboard which she used to scrub the dirty clothes, and a big copper pot with a built in wood-fired furnace to boil water. She would boil the sheets and towels in it. She also used it to scald the chickens after she had decapitated them with an axe. The scalding made the feathers easier to pluck.
She also had the luxury of a hand operated wringer consisting of two rubber rollers through which you passed the washed clothes to squeeze out some of the water.
The wood stove in the kitchen wasn't made from wood, but from heavy cast metal with hotplates just above the cavity where you burned the wood for heating the pans on the hotplates.
Carpets had to be taken outside the house and hit with a handheld beater to beat the dust out of them. You would have to shower off the dust on yourself afterwards.
Doctors made house-calls, but you had to walk to the chemist shop to get the prescription filled, if you lived long enough to get there.
There was no telephone in our house, but there was a public phone-booth down the street and calls cost 2 pennies. Taxis were quite expensive and cost about 40 cents for the first mile.
Hospitals smelt of ether and disinfectant, either of which encouraged people to throw up, and you would be lucky to come out still breathing, which was something patients did almost under protest.
There was no hand basin in our bathroom at home. You had to lean over the bathtub and use the bath tap to wash your hands and clean your teeth.
The old gas heater to warm the water for a shower or bath, exploded into life with a flame that was half the height of a man. More than once I heard reports of someone being blown up while taking a shower.
Luckily we had a mirror (tarnished) in a splintered wooden frame, to allow us to see that we had combed our hair with enough oil or grease to lube the car that nobody on our street could afford.
In winter we warmed ourselves with an open fire in the built-in fire place in the living room and rubber hot water bottles in our beds. In summer we sweated in front of an electric fan. The rich folk on the other side of town perspired in front of bigger fans.
The toilet was out the back of the house and had no light except the candle you took with you. You pulled a chain hanging from the water cistern above your head to flush the toilet. Spiders built there cobwebs in every corner of the toilet. Sometimes it was like going into an Indiana Jone's Tomb of Terror just to have a pee.
We had the luxury of electric lights -one per room, which we had to remember to turn on and off, when we entered or left the room to save money.
I walked a mile to school every week day, and on Saturdays, I walked a mile in the other direction to go to the special kids matinee screening of a movie at the local 'picture theatre'. We usually got a B grade movie, cartoons, a serial, and a main movie after an intermission when we bought lots of candy and ice cream, no popcorn in those days. There were prizes for competitions and boys and girls who were in the birthday club. The movies cost the equivalent of 15 cents. (One shilling and threepence.) The candy was about 1o cents a box.
You could buy your lunch at school from the canteen which was run by the ladies' auxiliary. 30 cents would see you with a cholesterol packed lunch of meat pie, pasty, a cream bun and a drink. Sauce (ketchup) was a penny extra for the pie or pasty. A cordial drink was sixpence (5 cents).
The radio was the main source of entertainment in the home and at night after the evening meal of meat and three vegetables, the family would sit around listening to radio plays, quiz shows and serialised stories. It was much like free to air television without the pictures and a whole lot less hype. I still think the radio plays served to inspire images that today's movies provide without much effort on our part other than to convince ourselves that the digital effects are real.
After school, the neighbourhood kids would play ball games in the street, only stopping for the occasional car or horse riders to go past, and that was a main road.
Saturday nights my family would take the bus or tram to go out dancing to any of the various hotels or clubs. No gambling, no striptease, just good big band music for dancing waltzes and foxtrots, etc., with alcoholic beverages. We kids would play hide and seek behind the club. (Not that kind of hide and seek, you dirty minded people. We were not yet even 11 years old.)
Speaking of dirty minded people, policemen would arrest men they discovered, (often by entrapment) in public toilets and parks, for 'acts of gross indecency' and the penalty for the guilty could be jail for up to 2 years with hard labour. These cases were listed in the "Cause List" in the local newspaper and were eagerly, even if with dread, read by gay men to see if any of their friends had been arrested.
Then came rock n' roll, and by 1960 everything changed, forever...but that is another era, to be followed by yet others.