Museum of 51

I went to see the Museum of 51 exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall a while back, which is about the Festival of Britain. Basically it was a festival in 1951 to celebrate 100 years since the Great Exhibition and cheer people up in grey, rationed post-war London. As well as films, shows, fairs and so on, there were shows of housing and interiors, to show people what they could look forward to after rebuilding and the end of rationing (everything available for sale in WWII was simple and utilitarian and rationed). My dad went to pretty much all the events, seeing as they were mostly around the corner from him in Battersea.

There were a lot of different things there- people’s memories, films of the events, displays of different attractions from the festival, but the thing which particularly interested me was the design section.

Museum of 51

There was this 50s room, which I particularly liked. The original ones were to show people all of the exciting home design they would be able to buy once materials were no longer rationed. Everything is brightly coloured and cheerful looking, which figures.

Museum of 51

I’m not sure I’d want to live with that wallpaper though. My dad has the dining set and sideboard of the furniture, and I have the coffee table version of the little tables (mine is a long round-edged rectangle). It’s a great table.

Museum of 51

Let’s lounge around in our luridly furnished room reading metaphysical poetry. I love the covers of this line of Penguin poetry books.

Museum of 51

They had this map, showing what people in different towns were apparently talking about in 1951. Here’s the SE. Chatham docks, Oxford Aristotle, no surprises there. Most of them were just the local industries.

Museum of 51

Aberdeen- philosophy and fish

Museum of 51

I so would go to this. The actual Sherlock Holmes museum in London is a crappy tourist trap.

Museum of 51

I love the graphic design from the 50s in the UK, it’s really playful. (Not that I got a great photo of this.

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