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What was Jamaica like in the 1970s?

by Jacqueline Smith

Jamaican In The 1970s
QUESTION about: Jamaica In The 1970s

Hi Wellesley,
I would like to know what Jamaica was like in the 70s for young children (especially those high school ages 11-16).

Were chalkboards still being used in schools?
What did packed lunches typically consist of?
How much 'pocket' money did school kids get?
What games did they play outdoors?
Were there dedicated school buses to take them to school?

These questions are directed at those living in the country, e.g. St Mary.


Any other information about this era will really help. Thanks in anticipation.

RESPONSE: by Wellesley

Hi Jacky,
Thanks for your question.

I've tapped into the knowledge of our helpful JamHearts family on social media, via our Q&A Thursdays to get some responses for you.

And they are quite interesting, very interesting... here they are๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿพ

  1. @winniethomas2501 | Most children would take lunch to school or go home for lunch and come back to school. Back then, cherry malt was 15 cents, and 1 patty was 5 cents. So you may get 25 cents as lunch money. The girls would jump rope, or skipping, dandy Shandy, hop sachet, wolawho. The boys would play cricket and football.

    We didn't have much, but we were happy, and we shared our lunch with those who could not afford it.

  2. @timthomas4301 | In those times going to school as a youth. Fry dumplings, fritters, roasted plantain, Jack fruit, dry coconut ๐Ÿฅฅ. Rose apples, common apples, plums, sugar cane, oranges ๐ŸŠ, grapefruits, pudding, blue jaas, and lots of natural fruits and vegetables. Etc. We never used to these fabricated snacks.,only original bulla, crackers, and bread.

  3. @lizbeth7189 | I went to school in the 70s. Primary school lunch was horrible., you get bulgar and curry chicken which they add a lot of flour to make a curry sauce or it would be large boiled dumplings and that same curry sauce. At break, you get a free milk powder drink served in an aluminum cup. Secondary and high school lunch was so much better.

    Rice and peas stew chicken or stew beef with vegetables we paid $2 or we buy beef patty and cocoa bread with a soda that would cost $2 or a little less. When you didn't have lunch money no matter how hungry you were your pride would not let you tell anyone so you stayed in the classroom and said you had a stomach ache. Those were the days.

  4. @Mercia Mascoe-Bryan |I left Jamaica not long after Independence I got five Shillings a day for bus fare and lunch and attended Holy Rosary Prep School.

  5. @Dominica Pradere |Chalk was definitely being used until I retired in 2008 but whiteboards have been introduced gradually since then.

There you go my friend!

I hope the responses provided a helpful perspective for you.
We are still collecting responses via the comments below, so keep an eye on that too.

All the best!

With Regards,

Wellesley Gayle,
Your Website:
YouTube Channel:


P.S. Have a similar question? Or any questions at all about Jamaica, please Submit it to us here! With We've answered well over 2,500 questions answered, so chances are we can help you :-)

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Jan 06, 2024
Happy New Year 2024
by: Cheri Avery Black

Happy New Year. 2024 is bound to bring the best to those who claim their desires with gratitude, love, positive emotion, clarity, belief, and openness to receive.

Jan 06, 2024
The 70s
by: Cheri Avery Black

Thanks everyone for contributing to this Look Back! I enjoyed the memories and would like to see more about all kinds of things for each, discipline, chores, games/activities, rural vs urban, property values.

Happy New Year. 2024 is bound to bring the best to those who claim their desires with gratitude, love, positive emotion, clarity, belief, and openness to receive.

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