CHRISTMAS supplements filled with festive articles and enticing adverts packed with gift ideas are nothing new.

One of the earliest in the Adver archives dates back 60 years and has a cover image of a snowy St Andrew’s Church in Wanborough, easily recognisable thanks to its central spire.

The first article inside is about the latest toy trends, which seem to have leaned toward technology.

“Christmas shoppers this year,” we said, “will see many new automatic toys like push-button dolls, electric washing machines, radio-controlled boats and battery-propelled scale model cars.

“Automation has reached the nursery. While children’s tastes are basically the same as they were 25 years ago, they are now demanding ‘all mod cons’ in their toys.”

Some of the advertisers in the supplement proved the point, especially Hobby’s Corner, which offered radio control model aircraft with diesel motors.

No prices for these delights were given, which suggests they were likely to appear under trees in more affluent Swindon households.

Hobby’s Corner had plenty of more affordable toys, however, from cranes at the equivalent of just under 50p to dolls – “black and white, large and small” – starting at the equivalent of about 30p.

Working model steam engines cost from what would be £1.35 to £2.40 in decimal currency.

The supplement’s advertisers also had plenty of gifts for adults.

Morses Ltd in Regent Street offered presents to suit all pockets, from perfumes starting at the equivalent of 30p to electric hairdryers at just over three pounds.

Ronson Flo-line lighters cost the equivalent of £2.25, while the £13 cost of portable radios – “Will give hours of pleasure for a most reasonable outlay” – was more than many households earned in a week.

McIlroys, Swindon’s best-known department store, took out a double page to advertise everything from nylon strockings to the Coty Twistick – a solidified perfume applied rather like a deodorant stick.

The popularity of television was surging, and cutting edge technology in the form of an Ekco T326 machine with an impressive 14-inch screen could be had for a little over £62.

Alternatively, customers could pay a 50 percent deposit and the rest at the equivalent of 40p a week.

Each set came with a free aerial.