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Al­though credit cards had been in­tro­duced in the mid-1960s, with the pi­o­neer­ing Bar­clay­card, one of its more fa­mous ri­vals was launched this year. The Ac­cess card was cre­ated by a con­sor­tium of banks, in­clud­ing the Na­tional West­min­ster, Mid­land, Lloyds and the Bank of Ire­land, to tackle the wellen­trenched Bar­clays leader. It be­came suc­cess­ful – re­mem­ber when its green and or­ange signs used to be ev­ery­where on shops? – partly due to some well-known ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns, in­clud­ing the Your Flex­i­ble Friend an­i­ma­tions and the an­noy­ingly catchy ‘Does you does, or does you don’t take Ac­cess?’ jin­gle. The name lasted un­til 1996, when MasterCard took over.


One of the coun­try’s best­loved word­smiths, Sir John Betjeman, be­came Poet Lau­re­ate in Oc­to­ber, a role he held un­til his death in 1984. Known for his gen­tle na­ture, of­ten di­shev­elled ap­pear­ance, sub­lime ec­cen­tric­ity and won­der­ful hu­mour, Betjeman’s po­ems were evoca­tive and charm­ing cel­e­bra­tions of a Bri­tain fast dis­ap­pear­ing. He was an en­thu­si­ast of Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tec­ture and rail­ways, when both were poorly regarded; with­out him, Lon­don’s St Pan­cras Sta­tion would prob­a­bly have been de­mol­ished. He was much less keen on Slough though, fa­mously ex­tolling the idea of friendly bombs com­ing and falling on it.

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