Life in the 1950s

Don McCullin – Recorder of the 20th Century

The Tate gallery might seem an odd place for an exhibition of a 20th Century photographer’s work, but there are two very good reasons why the current one works very well there. The first is the sheer quantity of work on show. A venue like the Photographers Gallery in Soho might be able to […]

Living With Buildings at the Wellcome Collection

Having indulged ourselves in the clothing of the 1930s, the next stop on our post-Xmas whistlestop tour of current exhibitions took us up to the Euston Road and the Wellcome Collection where the galleries are always guaranteed to set you thinking and where the underlying medical theme can produce a surprisingly diverse range of […]

Farewell Liz Fraser – the Original Carry On Blonde

And so another stalwart of British film and television comedy and drama leaves us – one who was there when TV was in its adolescence – and the BBC can’t even bring itself even to give her a mention on their news website. But clearly a spat between two daytime chat show presenters […]

Timewarp Below Euston

For our last Hidden London tour of 2016, we headed for Euston – hardly where you would expect to find ‘lost’ stations given how central it is to the rail network both above and below ground. However, it’s Euston’s key role in the growth of transport both in and out of, and within, London […]

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    Maps and the 20th Century – Drawing the Line at the British Library

Maps and the 20th Century – Drawing the Line at the British Library

For anyone fascinated by how the world looked earlier in the 20th Century, maps are an absorbing and reliable window into the past. Pour over any old Ordnance Survey map, and one can discern the shape and size of the towns our midcentury forebears lived in, the routes of the A-roads they drove their […]

MidCentury Boy in the Brave New World

Just recently we found ourselves watching an episode of Dan Cruickshank’s excellent TV series on the history of housing focussing on post-War living, quickly followed by one in the ‘Hidden Killers’ series again dealing with the post-War home. Both were fascinating, both filled with highly-desirable mid-Century items (not all of them potentially lethal!), but […]

Blown Away at Atomic

Having missed the first two Atomic Vintage Festivals because it was just too far to make in a day, our relocation to within striking distance looked like failing us thanks to a diary clash until a waterlogged site forced the organisers to delay the event from April to August. Even then, the weekend dawned […]

The Land of Lost Content

It’s somehow fitting that an attraction dubbed ‘The Land of Lost Content’ should sit off the beaten track, and you can’t get much further off than Craven Arms in deepest Shropshire, at the gateway to the Welsh Marches. But a location like that has given Stella Mitchell, a devotee of domestic ephemera, a venue […]

Clangers and Bagpuss Loose in Bethnal Green

There can be very few British children who grew up in the 60s and 70s, and beyond, for whom the work of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate does not form a significant part of their earliest memories. Chances are, those children will never have registered those names, nor of the Smallfilms company they ran […]

Elena Salvoni – the Queen of Soho

Elena Salvoni wasn’t particularly keen on her unofficial title of The Queen of Soho – it was all too reminiscent of the girls who plied their trade on the streets outside her restaurants – but it’s hard to think of her by any other and, as her death this week at the age of […]