Children of a Harsh Winter

This old saying, that the above tend to grow up tough when I read an article yesterday about the 1957 Asian Flu epidemic. It began in China 1956 and spread west to reach the uk in June. It was across the north west of England by August but the government hoped it would get lost in the press’s ‘silly season’ of the summer.

But with little government concern it continued into winter, killing an estimated 30,000 Britons. As with the present situation Macmillan’s government had plenty of time since the Spanish flu to prepare but failed to do so.

I am fascinated by this as I’ve never heard of it. I spent a lot of time talking local history with pensioners groups who recalled lots of childhood illnesses but not flu. I just spoke to a Spanish neighbour in his 70s who rattled off whooping cough, Spanish flu… not this one.

With covid we are hearing lots of parallels with Spanish flu but nothing on this. Some of the experts dealing with it are old enough to have had it themselves or in their family. But again it is not being mentioned. Maybe there were a lot of colds & flus about and it just got lost among them.

But then I got wondering about the children of that period. Are/were they any different? Those born in 1957 seem an unusually talented bunch.

Phyllida Lloyd,

Karl Hyde,

Cameron Crowe,

Nick Faldo,

Amanda Redman,

Nick Cave,

Daniel Day Lewis,

Shane McGowan,

Spike Lee

Mark E Smith,

Stephen Fry

Sid Viscious

Siouxie Sioux

Richard E Grant

Donald Tusk

Joachim Guzman

Magenta Divine

Alistair Campbell

Danny Baker

Frances McDormand

Jenny Seagrove

Tan Dun

Simon McBurney

Glen Tilbrook

Gloria Estefan

Ethan Coen

Julian Cope

Lyle Lovett

Carrie Fisher

Tim Westwood

Billy Bragg

Aki Kaurismaki

Afrika Bombaata

Ai Wei Wei

This may be a coincidence. There may be lots of successful people in every year. But it does make me wonder…. Ive just read that 50,000 children have been born in Britain since the 23 March lockdown. What will they be like?

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