November 2017

This month's Document is chosen by Archive Assistant Mollie Horne.

At the start of December we always like to dedicate our Document Of The Month spot to something Christmassy. For the past two years we have showcased Christmas Cards so this year I thought I would leaf through the company newspapers to find a festive article. Standard-Triumph News did not disappoint. I came across a great article in the 'Feminine and Family Features' section from 1965 entitled 'What will he get for Xmas?'.

I mainly chose this document because I always struggle to decide what to get my dad for Christmas but also because as soon as I showed the rest of the archive team, we were in fits of laughter.

The first thing that hits you is the kind of gifts the Standard Triumph team were suggesting - shirts and a massive array of fragrances. Some of the potential presents sound very extravagant, particularly the Prince Gourielle grooming set presented in 'smart cocktail shaker bottles' and the 'Black Watch tartan Traveller II' set. The article shows us that in the mid 1960s people were clearly very concerned with appearance, much like we are today.

Then you have to question the very odd image choices. The cartoons accompanying the piece do not really seem to match up with the text itself and we could not work out why they were there. The aspirational images of a man holding a snooker cue and the man dressed in a James Bond-esqe tuxedo (presumably inspired by the release of Thunderball in the same month) also seem slightly out of place. Though they seem to represent how a man could look 'when at leisure' as opposed to in his work overalls.

My absolute favourite contribution has to be the recommendation of a really good shirt. The Standard-Triumph News writers believed that men in the '60s chose their clothes with 'as much care as a woman chose a hair style'. It therefore followed that in the 'days of central heating' he would be concerned with owning a shirt that would remain perfect even when he removed his jacket. More importantly a good shirt was 'worth four times its weight in gold – not just to the wearer, but to the woman who launders it'! Maybe I should take this idea on board as, unlike men in 1965, my dad does his fair share of the washing.

As well as making me laugh, this article proves to be a great source of social history. Although attitudes towards women have, on the whole, changed dramatically it is interesting to see that ideas for presents haven’t actually changed a great deal.