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21 Dec 2008 110,248 views
 
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photoblog image BRAVE NEW YESTERDAY

BRAVE NEW YESTERDAY

 

As the 1950s progressed, public taste had changed and car buyers increasingly demanded flashier, more powerful offerings. Plymouth responded in kind with the introduction of flamboyantly restyled designs in the mid '50s.

By the 1950s, interest in interiors returned. New trends in furniture design and decoration for the home were inspired by art. Bright and exciting designs replaced gloomy florals. The work of painter Paul Klee created a fashion for patterns of coloured squares on sofas and chairs. The squiggly creations of Spanish painter Joan Miro were copied on carpets, curtains and ceramics. And the splish-splash style of Jackson Pollock's paintings appeared on wallpapers and textiles.

Department stores like John Lewis began to import furniture from Droitwich and Bromsgrove. The new enthusiasm for domestic design and technology was reflected by the success of the Festival Of Baconsarnies in 1951.

At last, ordinary people could buy stylish, well-designed furniture. The first plastic chair off the production line was Charles Eames' Shell Chair in 1948. It was inexpensive, light and hard-wearing. And it came in bright, modern colours! Below we have a swish kitchen dinerette.

Fancy Kitchen Kitsch from 1950s vintage Home Beautiful Magazine by painter girl.
 

BRAVE NEW YESTERDAY

 

As the 1950s progressed, public taste had changed and car buyers increasingly demanded flashier, more powerful offerings. Plymouth responded in kind with the introduction of flamboyantly restyled designs in the mid '50s.

By the 1950s, interest in interiors returned. New trends in furniture design and decoration for the home were inspired by art. Bright and exciting designs replaced gloomy florals. The work of painter Paul Klee created a fashion for patterns of coloured squares on sofas and chairs. The squiggly creations of Spanish painter Joan Miro were copied on carpets, curtains and ceramics. And the splish-splash style of Jackson Pollock's paintings appeared on wallpapers and textiles.

Department stores like John Lewis began to import furniture from Droitwich and Bromsgrove. The new enthusiasm for domestic design and technology was reflected by the success of the Festival Of Baconsarnies in 1951.

At last, ordinary people could buy stylish, well-designed furniture. The first plastic chair off the production line was Charles Eames' Shell Chair in 1948. It was inexpensive, light and hard-wearing. And it came in bright, modern colours! Below we have a swish kitchen dinerette.

Fancy Kitchen Kitsch from 1950s vintage Home Beautiful Magazine by painter girl.
 

comments (17)

As we trawled through a decade of austerity and rationing restrictions here in post-war Britain the US was setting its liberating stall out.

God bless America for all that it has given us ............. er white sliced cellophane wrapped bread !!!!!!

richard
Chris: Don'tcha luv it Richard! Just imagine if they tried to market such a product nowadays...
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 21 Dec 2008, 08:18
Reading your words and those of Richard Trim and seeing the picture in the link, yes we came from far.
I still remember the things my parents bought.
However I sometimes wondered why some people still buy every 5 year a totally new interior because the colour is not right.
I like a house to be lived in, not a showroom like they show in all kinds of fashion magazines.
Chris: People in this day & age Astrid very often act in a modish way, as you suggest, rather than following their own agendas. In England people like this are referred to as sheep!
You can see the effect of food colourings, residual pesticides and the migration of plasticisers into the bleached flour of the bread. The mad staring eyes feasting hungrily on the red sugar spread.

Happy days
Chris: Indeed Bill: that child looks completely demented whereas the men are unable to distinguish between a woman and a car. They would go to bed with this lump of metal & rubber if they could...
  • FLOOG
  • The library of my soul
  • 21 Dec 2008, 08:54
That child went on to inspire 'The Exorcist' I believe!

We used to have shell chairs in our kitchen when I was a child, great fun when the metal legs gave way, but I soon learned that laughing at my parents friends as they picked themselves up from the floor resulted in early bed and no pudding..... smile
Chris: And this is a lesson that has clearly stayed with you FLOOGY! I have nostalgia for the 50s though: they were innocent & happy times...
Ah, Chris, dare I say those were the days? But that building, a school? looks more 60's that 50's I think. Or perhaps we in the south-east lagged behind you in the south-west. And my Northern friends used to say that the south only followed where the north led!
Chris: Indeed you're right Sheila: it may well have been the early 60s. I take it Charles Eames who invented the iconic Shell Chair was no relation?
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 21 Dec 2008, 09:11
Oh, yes, happy (and sorrowful) memories, memories...
first: while looking at the Swindon school-pic I think of "my" school where I worked many years, it looks very, very similar (but without the handrails yesterday so that I thought of a house for senior and disabled persons), self the garden looks similar, and there may be in all schools the same smell, a mixture of puberty and angst sweat, chalk, copy dust, desinfectionspray, floor-wax, "Muff" from many years...!
The others pics and your interesting summary about the "fifties" are wakening so many remembrances of my childhood and youth -during the so-called "Wirtschaftswunder" after the WWII- - yes, I remember the new "exciting designs" and patterns and colours (also the "Nierentisch" and die "Tütenlampen" in our country), the new cars ("Käfer"/Beeetle), "Cellophane", my first nylon stockings, especially the many American influences: toast hawai, petticoat, rock 'n' roll, jazz, jukebox, Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper... it was an exciting time and I loved to live, slip-knots in the hair- yes, that was fashion then and I had a pony- tail like the most girls, I don't know if that was fashion in GB too! But we had no telephone! Thanks for those lovely memories by your post today (also thanks for your e-mail and greetings to Ratty 8)!
Chris: Thank you Philine: it seems as if your memories of the 1950s are as carefree as my own. The UK was a rather austere place then with few luxuries but towards the end of the decade the rise of rock & roll seemed to herald new wealth and new horizons.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 21 Dec 2008, 09:40
And b not to forget: the first milkshakes in the "Milchbar" -harmless, innocent pleasures in comparison to the habits of the youngsters today! I collected as girlie postcards with paintings of Paul Klee and Oan Miró, Jackson Pollock came later!
Chris: In England Philine these were the days before 'fast food;' no one knew what burgers or pizzas were then!
  • Alan
  • Southampton, on the sunny south coast of England
  • 21 Dec 2008, 10:03
Festival Of Baconsarnies? I'm amazed that I can find no mention of this on Wikipedia. Why do I have a burning desire to pick on that jam sandwich and ram it in to the little girl's face?
Chris: I expect that horrible jam contains every additive known to mankind Alan.

Wikipedia doesn't know everything...
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 21 Dec 2008, 10:17
"The UK was a rather austere place then with few luxuries", yes, I know, Chris, and I can very well understand that the "economical miracle' in the 50's in Western Germany -thanks to the help of the occupying powers!- has been noticed or critisized with some scepticism and reservations (after Germany has started the war and has lost it alright)!
"no one knew what burgers or pizzas were then"- yes, no one, self the word "sandwiches" was unknow to me then!
Chris: Did you know what Bratwurst was Philine? I didn't until Chad introduced me to it at Koln railway station some years ago
  • anniedog
  • United Kingdom
  • 21 Dec 2008, 10:26
The 50s had a unique sense of style. As a child in the 50s I remember those sofas and carpets - as I got older I hated that kind of style and preferred antique furniture as we never had any in our house - everything was modern. This style is now termed retro and I feel quite nostalgic reading about it. And I still have a very non-PC sneaky liking for sliced white bread - toasted and dripping with butter!
Ingrid
Chris: I feel exactly the same Ingrid. Isn't life strange!
These images reminded me of a happy-go-lucky past in the 50s and 60s Chris!
I like like the effect on your picture.
Chris: Thank you Richard. Today we are dripping with both jam and nostalgia
Ah yes the 50's. I remember having this 12" television which lived mainly out of it's case because it was always going wrong. The neighbours let us pop over and watch "Quatermass and the pit", which was kind of them.

Everyone had their commodities to acquire and I remember the car workers wages were higher than most peoples but they went on strike a lot. Heart attacks started getting more common too.
Chris: I remember Quatermass to Janet - from behind the sofa. I was terrified!
Consumism has taken us where we are. We could have done better.
Chris: We certainly could have Albert: life was very different then
  • Tracy
  • Staffs England
  • 21 Dec 2008, 15:47
This was way before my timegringrin
Chris: Hahaha...that's nothing to be ashamed of Tracy! Are you feeling fit & well now?
My Mum and Dad had a 9" Bush tele.in the 50's, dad was so proud when I came home from school and discovered it for the first time. Nice to look back sometimes, this series really does show just how simple everything was then Chris.
Chris: Black & white 405 line TV: we thought it was so sophisticated!
Well you have fired the nostalgia gun here Tiffers old bean. So I shall recall the 50's too. The dinky toy cars, Meccano, Quatermass and the pit and Muffin the mule (which they now say is illegal)

It was a black and white world, which is as well when you see colour images of it! And the ladybird clothes...Oh good grief how we suffered!
Chris: But do you remember what it was like at Exeter St David's? I bet you do - because it was HEAVEN!
  • Ellie
  • England
  • 21 Dec 2008, 16:14
Good grief, I think that picture's enough to put somebody off red jam for life!

The post war buildings are beginning to crumble now, I think, hope to goodness they're replaced by something that looks nice.
Chris: I shall be doing a series in the new year showing what some of the hideous rubbish from the 60s has been replaced with in Bath Ellie. It's neo Georgian pastiche - but my God: a thousand times better than what was there before

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