The local swimming baths, or Munies as the Municipal Baths were known, was the gathering place for all the local teenagers on a hot summer Sunday afternoon where I lived. Everyone flocked to the pool, either to swim and cool off, or to flirt with the opposite sex. At times the crowded water looked more like a wall to wall carpet of wet bodies. To find somewhere to sit on the wooden seating above the dressing sheds on both sides of the pool meant stepping over swimsuit clad bodies stretched out on towels.
The Brylcreem vending machine sat on one wall of the pool surround, attracting quite a following during the early 1960s, especially with the lads hoping to attract the girls’ attention. After their swim the lads would dry off, flick their hair into place and head for the Brylcreem machine. For one brown penny, or maybe it was twopence, the machine spewed out a dollop of Brylcreem into the waiting hand, enough to smooth through the boys hair and tame their wet locks.
Girls hung around the machine as well, also hoping to be noticed as the boys sleeked their hair into place with the greasy white cream. Imagine healthy young, tanned teenage bodies clad only in swimsuits on a hot sunny day, the girls eyeing the lads as they put on impressive grooming shows. Teenage hormones ran rampant.
I remember one sad summer when we arrived back at the pool after the winter closure to find the Brylcreem machine had been removed. The longer and more unruly hairstyles heralded by The Beatles and other pop groups caught on with the boys and greasy swished back hairstyles with every strand in place lost their popularity.
A little bit of recent research reveals Brylcreem was the first male hair styling cream invented, having been introduced in Birmingham UK in 1928. Its popularity lasted until its demise in the 1960s, but much to my surprise Brylcreem is still available in small red containers today.
Do any of you have early memories of Brylcreem to share? How did effect your social life? Can you remember Brylcreem vending machines?