How much did things cost in 1956? (income adjusted)

These are prices of some sample items in 1956.

How much were these prices for someone on an average income in 1956? To get a feel for this, I have adjusted them for the increase in incomes from 1956 to today. You can see these adjusted prices in the column 'Income adjusted'.

1956 priceIncome adjusted
Gallon of petrol5s 4d£20
Pint of beer (bottled) [*]2s£7.40
Espresso in a coffee bar7d to 1s 3d[1]£2.20 to £4.60
20 cigarettes [*]3s 10d£14
Loaf of bread (white, unwrapped) [*]10½d£3.20
Loose leaf tea [*] 4oz1s 7½d£6
Sugar 1lb [*]8d£2.50
Pint of milk [*]7d£2.20
Butter ½lb [*]1s 10½d£7
Cheddar cheese 1lb [*]3s 2d£12
Margarine 1lb [*]1s 9d£6.50
Lard 1lb [*]1s 6½d£5.70
Eggs 1 dozen [*]3s£11
Potatoes lb [*]2½d77p
Cabbages lb [*]4d£1.20
Onions lb [*]6d£1.90
Eating apples lb [*]1s£3.70
Oranges lb [*]1s ½d£3.70
Ground coffee 8oz [*]4s 2d£15
Cocoa lb [*]4s 6d£17
Coal - 1cwt [*]7s ½d£26
Bush TV56 17"television 80 guineas£6,200
Bush DAC 90 radio £16 10s£1,200
Pam 710 transistor radio (Britain's first transistor radio) [2]£31 10s£2,300
Qualcast Powered Panther lawn mower£25 15s 9d£1,900
The Daily Mirror newspaper2d62p
Average house price£2,003£150,000
Ford Anglia car£541£40,000
Electrolux refrigerator58 guineas£4,500
Hoover washing machine£47 16s£3,500
Invincible Popular vacuum cleaner£21 10s 3d£1,600

Prices are in pounds, shillings and pence.

Some shops priced more expensive items in guineas. A guinea is one pound and one shilling or £1.05.

The income adjusted prices are based on the Bank of England's Three Centuries Macroeconomic Dataset Version 2.3 - 30 June 2016. I have updated the income figures based on the ONS: Series code KAB9, adjusted to bring the figures inline with the Bank of England's.

For a comparison of prices in 1956 adjusted for inflation see Infation adjusted prices for 1956

By Steven Braggs, December 2021, updated May 2022


[1] 'Coffee comes to town', published in The Manchester Guardian 6 April 1956, page 13

[2] 'Radio! Radio!', third edition by Jonathan Hill, published by Sunrise Press, page 288

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