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'News stories in 1948'

This section gives you an archive of the stories which made it into the national press during 1948.

'December 23'

The Post Office reports that Christmas mail is the heaviest since before the war. With the help of 100,000 men, women and students it processed approximately 505 million letters. In addition Christmas spending is up on the previous year.

Some of the holiday attractions featured in the press include a cricket match on Brighton Pier on Christmas Day and a cricket match in Rowington, Warwickshire where players with cold feet are allowed to wear rubber boots. Mr A Christmas won a Sea Angling competition on Hastings on Christmas Day with a catch of 16.5 oz representing over a fifth of the total catch of the 68 competitors.

'December 26'

On the BBC Home Service Lord Bertrand Russell delivers the first of the Reith Lectures established in honour of the former Director General of the BBC.

His first broadcast was entitled "Authority and the individual" and in it he discussed the problem of finding appropriate outlets for our destructive impulses. "Anyone who hopes that in time it may be possible to abolish war should give serious thought to the problem of satisfying harmlessly the instincts that we inherit from long generations of savages."

"Apart from war, modern civilisation has aimed increasingly at security, but I am not sure that the elimination of all danger makes for happiness. Many people are happier during a war than they are in peace time, provided the direct suffering entailed by fighting does not fall to heavily upon them personally." He concluded by saying he hoped it would be possible to find a real outlet for destructive "primitive" impulses, otherwise destructive philosophies would from time to time undermine the best of human achievements.

In Switzerland the engineer George de Mestral invents the fastener Velcro. After a walk in the woods with his dog he noticed how cockleburs clung to his socks and to his dog's coat. He invented a system of hooks and loops which he called a 'velour croche' which was eventually shortened to 'velcro'.

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