With shops and places of entertainment forced to shut because of ancient Lord's Day observance laws, the boredom, the sense of nothing happening or ever likely to happen again, seemingly affected everything.
The streets would be empty, recalls the writer Hunter Davies of Carlisle, the town where he grew up, 'as if a bomb had gone off - no shops, no pubs, no life, no everything'.
It was seen as a civilising influence that might help them avoid getting into bad ways.
'But he wasn't, and nor did he go to church.' It didn't matter.
The consensus for keeping the Sabbath holy was all-pervading.
Another writer, Fife-born Ian Jack, remembers long walks and country bike rides 'past hatted church-goers in stilled villages.
Small railway stations closed and the signals on many lines stood all day disappointingly at red.