Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Best of British Homemaking 1966

The recent television series ‘Back in Time for the Weekend’ sent me scurrying to find my stash of old magazines. For those of you who’ve not seen the programme it features a British family living in six different decades starting from the 1950s and ending in the present day. 

Having lived through all the decades showcased in the programme, I'm having difficulty deciding which I preferred. I was a small child in the 1950s a teenager in the swinging sixties and married with a child in the seventies. Any or all of those years could be classed as my favourite but the 60s were certainly the most colourful as demonstrated in this Best of British homemaking magazine from March 1966.

The Best of British Homemaking March 26th, 1966.

Unbeatable quality, unbeatable choice – here’s Good Living Unlimited for your home!

Any moment now ... they'll be talking about furniture.  Really?

That special blend of cosiness, comfort and quality that makes the British Home the castle it is!

The world's widest and finest choice of furniture - that's our lucky lot! Here is an eyeview of some of the good buys around.  

Every room in the house bursting with our new colour skill. Coolly modern, richly traditional, warmly cottagey - whatever the type of furnishing style it's the colour that makes a room remembered.   

I wonder how many of you remember Ladderax (as shown above - and in the photograph below). It was all the rage when we got married and looking on eBay, I see it’s making a comeback. It even has its own Facebook and Wikipedia pages! We got rid of our ‘modular storage’ years ago believing it to be old fashioned, but perhaps we should have kept it.

I always liked the checked wallpaper in the sitting room (above) it made a perfect backdrop for the Ladderax. The photo was taken not long after Terry and I got married. If you look closely you can see our pet budgerigar on Terry’s shoulder. We named the budgie Tarzan thinking he was a boy but when he later turned out to be a she we renamed her Jane!

Tarzan (or Jane) pales into insignificance against the dining room wallpaper. 

Back in Time for the Weekend Episode 2.The 60s BBC Documentary 2016;

Have you seen Back in Time for the Weekend or do you have a favourite decade?

Update 17th March, 2016.  If you read the comments at the end of this post, you might have seen the one from Anne Marie at Campfire. If not this is part of it; 

I noticed the Parkray in the photo - we had one of those, set in a natural stone fireplace, a long one with a TV pod on one side.  Above the Parkray we had hand done split wooden laths, in a weatherboarding effect (my mother in law asked what colour we were going to paint them!). There was a sage green feature wall and a Habitat white round centre stemmed table with chrome pod, and matching chairs. The sideboard was a beautiful teak one long and low and surprisingly went with the table. The sofa was pre-formed in black 'leatherette' very new and made especially - and it was so blinking uncomfortable. The curtains were orange and sage green checked wool tweed, in quite a large check, all very nice I thought.

Anne Marie followed up by sending an email and a photograph (taken from a slide) for me to share with you. She remembers the chairs being very uncomfortable, made of a basic polythene shell covered with artificial leather. She also mentioned the walking sticks on the wall, and the black moulded plastic coffee table in the foreground. She ends by saying, “we were so 'designer' then. None of our friends were so daring.”

Thanks Anne Marie, loving the chairs and would you believe we had curtains just like that! Barbara x  


  1. HeHe! This may be a long one....(as the Bishop said....).
    I only watch the 60's one of Back In time...Only one l was
    interested in...As we used to say.."If you remember the 60's
    you were'nt there". HeHe! sounds a bit Irish l know! But!
    Very true! AND..The 60' are always voted the best decade of
    ALL time...Nothing before or since has matched up to it!
    It's a problem trying to remember what 'did'nt' happen!
    The style, the music, way of life..HaHa! The struggle...!
    In 1960...I was 13yrs old...Different, Unique, and Special!
    Have l changed...Neah! What's the point! :).

    When we came back to this country first, l was a year old,
    living in a two up, two down, outside loo...! I was'nt
    brought up..I was dragged up...Struggled! Only girl in the
    family..! :>). HeHe! Great fun...
    I'm remembering our furniture, what we actually had of it.
    But, l remember it was good and strong, and long lasting.
    Not like a lot of the rubbish they sell to~day. Made of

    HaHa! We had a budgie to...When my Granny died, she left
    me her budgie...I was 10yrs old. My Dad brought it home,
    l did'nt like it in a cage, l took it to the front door
    and let it go. It survived a couple days, over the wooded
    area, the other birds would have killed it. We did get
    another one, Dad put a padlock on the front of the cage,
    to stop me letting it go...! :).

    "Willie..You have gone on a bit". "Well yeah! It's a great
    post, and, it's the 60's".
    It's no secret...I~Love~Old~Things..Getting there me self...
    I have a Ronson hair dryer...47yrs old, been half way round
    the world with me, except for an odd Sunday, used every day.
    A 60+yr old wooden ironing board...Just had a coat of 'Bubble
    gum pink' paint, and new cover...Good as new!
    And finally..I have a wardrobe 'FULL' of 60's cloths, but, that's
    another story!

    Great post Barbara...Great...
    Saying for to~day...International Ladies Day...
    "Always go to other peoples funerals, otherwise
    they won't go to yours".
    (Sorry feeling a little fluffy to~day). :).

    1. Hi Willie, the longer the better (as the bishop probably didn’t say!) But seriously, I so enjoyed your reminiscences. You should share more – start a blog! I know you’ve been asked that a hundred times before, but you would be brilliant.

      You and I are almost the same age! I was 12 in 1960 the youngest of three with a big brother and sister to look out for me. Very spoilt my sister would say! As far as I can tell you’ve not changed a bit you are still Different, Unique, and Special and good on you! It must be easier to be all those things now than it was in 1960, thank goodness attitudes have changed.

      My granny also had a budgie, but he didn’t live in a cage just had the run (no he didn’t run, but you know what I mean) of the house until the day granny sat on him! That was a sad day, poor granny Daisy was distraught and the budgie was none too happy.

      I love your saying of the day Willie, but I’ve been going to a few too many funerals recently – I must be getting old!!

    2. Your Granny sat on the budgie.....! :).
      HeHe! I suppose that's what you'd call
      'Shredded Tweet'.

      What l was gonna say...Was!
      There's a very good site, if anyone's
      interested in the 60's...Well worth a

    3. Oh Willie you are so bad! 'Shredded Tweet' indeed.
      I’m off to have a look at that site right now, thank you for the link. xx

  2. Love your blog Sister, but cannot remember Tarzan/Jane. All those colours for furniture and wallpaper are back in the shops with a vengeance. Do you remember our red dining room and the boys turquoise bedroom? We had wallpaper with huge pink magnolias in our bedroom at one stage. No wonder I like all the pastel shades now!

    1. Hi Sue, we still had Tarzan/Jane when we moved to Bishops Sutton. Steve loved that little budgie as did we. I do remember your red dining room but have no recollection of the magnolias.

      I quite fancy a ‘feature’ wall with a big flowery pattern in our bedroom,but Terry would be horrified!

      Thanks for calling in. xxx

  3. Oh, my, this did take me back Barbara. I married in 1967 and we moved into a bungalow which was built in the 50s but we made 'modern' when we moved in. I noticed the Parkray in the photo - we had one of those, set in a natural stone fireplace, a long one with a TV pod on one side. The living room and dining room were half split, ie knocked through one of the alcoves. Above the Parkray we had hand done split wooden laths, in a weatherboarding effect (my mother in law asked what colour we were going to paint them!). There was a sage green feature wall along both rooms walls as a continuity thing. There was also a Habitat white round centre stemmed table with chrome pod, and matching chairs. The sideboard was a beautiful teak one long and low and surprisingly went with the table. The sofa was pre-formed in black 'leatherette' very new and made especially - and it was so blinking uncomfortable. The curtains were orange and sage green checked wool tweed, in quite a large check, all very nice I thought.

    Bedrooms weren't made much of, an MFI row of 'fitted' only not fitted, wardrobes.

    Well, does anyone remember the Futuro house? rather like something from the War of the Worlds? we saw one at the Ideal Homes exhibition and I WANTED one!

    Well, that's taken me back. Sorry Barbara, to rabbit on so much! Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Dear Anne Marie, please feel free to share your memories as often as you like, I love hearing about them.

      I knew that fire had a name, but I couldn't remember it – Parkray, of course! We didn’t have a fire in our first house because it was heated with ‘warm air’ all these little ducts all over the place and no focal point. Your natural stone fireplace sounds so much more appealing. I laughed when I read about your mother in law, how funny. I remember those Habitat tables. They were beautiful, and I always wanted one. We went for the more traditional brown furniture believing it would last – it didn't!

      I’ve just read an article in the telegraph about Futuro houses. Apparently, they originally sold for around £8,229 (a fortune in those days) and at the time of the article (2014) they were selling for more than £100,000 not including the cost of repair or transport back to the buyer’s home. Now you want one all over again!

    2. The Futuro house was amazing, Barbara, it was like going into another age when we were allowed to go up the stairs, it was so 'modern' and we wanted that in those days. Then we moved over to Staffordshire into a farmhouse and nothing suited, so I started buying and restoring oak furniture.

      I found a slide this morning which showed our green wall and two of the chairs - I wonder if I could highlight it and photograph it and you could post on your blog too? I'll have a go and let you know. I have asked around on a facebook page to see if anyone can advise where I can get them copied as I have also some of me in my 20s!!!

    3. That would be brilliant, thank you! I wish I could advise about how to do it, but I really have no idea, maybe someone on Facebook will help. Hope so as I would love to share the photograph.

      Fancy you going in one of those houses, no wonder you remember it so well. I don’t suppose many people were lucky enough to do that.

  4. We have seen the program and find it interesting. Things were quite different in the Uk than in North America in the 50s, 60s and 70s. So hubby and I compare notes. I have a number of favourite decades but one of them was the 80s. Things were going very well for me in my career, I was married to Paul and living in Calgary were things were hopping. It was a fun time. I did have Danish modern furniture in the 70s. I love the old magazine pictures! Your little bird is very cute. I believe my husband had a budgie in England named Ernest.

    1. Hello Darlene, thanks so much for sharing your memories. Perhaps you could do a blog post about the differences between the UK and North America in those times. I for one would find it very interesting. A lot of friends had budgies back then but not so much now. Somehow keeping a bird in a cage (although Tarzan/Jane spent more time out of one) doesn't fill me with joy any more.

  5. Sweetest Barbara! What an endearing post! I grew up as a child in the 60s, but our home was a mix of 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. I love them all since these styles speak of many good memories. I remember as a kid daydreaming about having my own apartment when I would grow up; I dreamed it would be decorated as such, 60s style! I still love the early 60s style that the Beatles and so many other British artists got started. I love your budgie!!!! We too had a family parrot that was old as the hills. He was passed down from one uncle to another, to cousins, to aunts...his name was George. Then one day GEORGE laid an egg. He was then named.....GEORGIA! teeheheee

    1. Dear Anita, thank you so much! I’m in love with George/Georgia – but how funny about the egg – that is exactly how we found out that Tarzan was, in fact, Jane!
      I adored the Beatles and how sad to hear the news George Martin their record producer. We didn't know much about him at the time, but it now seems he was instrumental to their success. Did you like the Monkeys? Just thinking about them has me humming Last train to Clarksville!

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and the comments so far - funny, the details you remember! I was a little girl in the 60s and I remember my mum got 'Woman' magazine every week, as well as something called 'Family Circle'. We had a Ladderax which my mum still has in her sitting room, so I will tell her to hang onto it. It's a really fancy one, with a drinks cabinet and a section for the hi-fi (late 60s or early 70s addition - before that we had a radiogram....)

    What a brilliant idea for a TV show! I will have to watch those on YouTube.

    1. Hello Sue, I’m so pleased you are enjoying the fun! I always think the comments are the best bit.
      I remember Woman and Family Circle, and I might even have some somewhere. I will have to look for them as they might come in handy for another blog post one of these days. I’m so envious of your mums Ladderax and really wish we still had ours. I don’t remember a section for the hi-fi but we did have a magazine rack (you can just see it in the photo).
      The programs are highly entertaining so you should watch them if you get the chance.

  7. I haven't seen this programme but agree with you that things looked so cozy (yet modern). Especially love the blue couch in the 2nd group of pictures, and the green one in the third (I don't see that shade of green often enough - designers tend to go with lime green these days/years). The checked pattern is my favourite. I like it better than polka dots or the geometrical patterns, which always make me dizzy somehow. So good to see a photo of young Terry and your Tarzan/Jane! Were you taking that picture?

    Dear Barbara, I want to thank you from the bottommest of my heart for your comment on my blog this week. Your support is one of the reasons I feel 'someone out there enjoys my writing, so I shouldn't throw in the towel.' I won't give up now that I've realised it's okay and perfectly well to adjust the sails when things aren't going where I'd expected them to. I'll still get to where I want to be eventually. ~ xoxo C.

    1. Hello Claudine,
      I really like blues and greens and have just redecorated a bedroom using both plus a few touches of lemon and white – sounds awful but looks really fresh and pretty. You would have hated one of the wallpapers we had in the past – the dominant colour was purple, and it was covered with a crazy geometrical design. I have no idea how we lived with it!
      Bless your heart Claudine. The only way for you is forward, and I can already feel the wind filling those sails. xxx

    2. PS. I forgot to say I am guilty of taking the photographs. In those days, the film had to be taken to the chemist to be developed so it was sometimes months before we saw the finished results. How different it all is now. : 0

    3. Lol you took photos then and Terry takes them now! I love your colour combinations ~ blue, green, lemon and white. (I really like blue with lemon or blue with white, or a lot of blue with a small puddle of red). Thanks, love. xoxo

  8. Dearest Barbara, I see your reply here! YES YES! I LOVE THE MONKEYS!I have to say that I love all the British recording artists from this special time of the 60s. I always say, "How did the British take the world by storm?" I still love to listen to and watch The Beatles. And my friend, thank you so much for coming to read my poem. Poetry is not a favorite I notice among bloggers, but I had to share this one that I wrote on Sunday, our actual anniversary. I realized that it's in the EVERYDAY of the gift we have together where the celebration lies. Enjoy your day and yes, isn't that funny about birds/parrots? We can think they are one thing, then they reveal themselves to be THE OPPOSITE! HAHAHAHA

  9. We watched this series and strangely enough my 12 year old son watched and loved it too! I clearly remember the wallpaper from my 70s childhood bedroom having huge graphic bright orange and yellow flowers on a darker orange background. My mum had a liking for shag pile carpet ... I had brown shag pile in my bedroom, my parents had a mottled pinky cream one in theirs and with the offcuts from their bedroom they carpeted the bathroom!! I also remember polystyrene tiles on the ceilings, spiky polytex paint and cork tiles on the kitchen floor. Great taste!! M x

    1. Hello Marina, the young boy in the series really enjoyed the experience, so maybe your son was identifying with him.
      Shag pile carpet – now you’re talking! I had forgotten but yes, we had it too! My parents in law still have polystyrene tiles on their ceilings. My father in law put them up in the 60s or 70s, and there they have stayed, he tells me it makes the house warmer. There could be something in that, but I’m sure they must be a fire hazard.

  10. How have I managed to miss this programme?

    Such a blast from the past. Great post, though a child of the seventies myself so much of the above was so familiar - especially the wallpaper.

    1. Hi Tracy, I think most of the series is available on YouTube and might also be on 'catch up' TV. It is well worth a watch.
      Thanks for your visit, Barbara

  11. That Back in Time program sounds interesting and your photographs are, too--such a colorful decade. Ha ha, funny story about Tarzan, I mean Jane!

    1. Hi Marcia, poor old Tarzan I’m not sure how he felt about turning out to be a girl! hehe

  12. I haven't heard of this show- but what fun. I also love looking through old magazines and commercials because it really brings back a time period. I see lots of things coming back in fashion from so long ago. Interesting how it all come back around. :) The patterns and colors can be a bit overwhelming- but I agree that one wall with a pattern is enough. :)

    1. Hello Stephanie, it is funny how our tastes change when I was younger I craved colour, noise and excitement. I much prefer a calmer lifestyle now.
      Have a lovely weekend, Barbara.

  13. G'day dear Barbara!! We don't have this show here in Oz,
    However, though I was a SMALL child in the 60's,I do have some super memories. In about '65/6 we rented our 1st TV.It was one of those huge Box looking things on spindly legs! We had a(REAL)timber feature wall in the L-Shaped Lounge/Dining room which was very large even by today's standards.The front door opened straight into it,so dad built a long bookcase & on top of it we had a large Tropical Fish Tank which you could look into from both sides as it formed a sort of 'entrance hall' It was so unusual that all our friends thought it very clever & modern! The floor was polished with shag-pile rugs.The saddest thing was when the fire place was replaced with a Gas Heater,It DID work far more effectively,but didn't have the same magical effect of a REAL fire!!We had typical 60's furniture & furnishings though fairly muted in colour compared to what was in the magazines of the day.Mum did love to have lots of really bright comfy cushions everywhere,which brightened the whole room immensely!!These memories and also having kept all my old magazines,have always given me such enjoyment as I moved into interior decor & furnishing,after I had to stop sign writing after 20-odd years! In my childhood bedroom in the mid 60's I had gorgeous RED carpet,though to this day I've no idea how as an 8 year old,I talked my parents into it! I had posters of various countries all over the walls which were a cool,clean ice green(almost white).In those days the Travel Agencies would give the posters away for free! HOW I do wish I had thought ahead and collected them. In the later 60's my grandparents sent me some POP posters out from England.These also went up onto my walls!! I had the most fabulous one of Cat Stevens with his acoustic guitar above my bed.(even my parents enjoyed his amazing guitar-playing skills and talent!) The bedspread I had was actually a huge purple blanket which I used as a bedspread.I kept all my dolls and teddies on my bed and next to the bookcase,another made by Dad,I had a very modern looking desk.The bedroom 'suite' was white which made my red carpet look even more intense!And yes!!! I DID have Beatles and other 60's pop stuff adorning my room in small amounts!!!!
    I have lovely memories from the 60's,when I was in primary school and also when I began my journey with the Brownies movement which back then was FAR more real and exciting,as well as practical and interesting than it seems to be in these politically correct days when everyone is so into litigation and suing others for what WE all simply considered to be the use (or not) of common sense!!
    My mother was very stylish in both her person and her housekeeping,so I think that I had a great start to life really. We were encouraged to discuss what WE liked or didn't, when the furniture was about to be moved around,or new furnishing bought.And because we all had a genuine interest in art,there were always interesting pieces on the walls, including some truly exquisite large Copper works which involved engraving and enamel-work!!Oh!! SO very modern!!!
    Before I go,I must tell you something which is parallel to your Tarzan/Jane tale..... A few years back when my son moved out,he got a tiny kitten which needed rescuing,and he gave her the delightful name of Eclipse.When he took her some weeks later for her FINAL needle,the vet informed him that SHE was definitely a HE!!! The only good aspect of this was that HIS name certainly could not have been better chosen, with what HE had been keeping hidden so well for so long!!!
    Yes indeed! I know too well,just how many supurr & purrfect puns Willie could be thinking up about THIS!!! We have been there and done this ourselves!! Hee hee hee!!
    Lovely to read this great post,Barbara.Though I may be considered more a child of the 70's,than the 60's,you have brought such wonderful early memories to the fore!
    My love always & miles of smiles, Jules xox

    1. G’day Julie or should I say Good Arvo (I’m never sure what time it is in Oz!)
      I guess you might get the show at a later date if it’s successful in the UK, if you do its well worth a watch.
      I loved reading your memories, and I remember the TVs with the spindly legs. Dad came home with our first TV in time for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Half the village came to watch. I was five at the time but still have vivid memories of the day. I had no idea you were involved with interior design & furnishing but the way you described your lounge/dining room, and bedroom did away with the need for a photograph – I can picture it all in my mind. The carpet in my bedroom was pink with great big flowers - full-blown roses if memory serves me right – with dark-green leaves, it was ghastly, but I did love my dressing table, desk and bookcase. The bookcase was full of stories by Enid Blyton and C. S. Lewis, together with lots of books sent by my Godmother. She had a thing for anything published by Dent/Dutton in the children’s illustrated classics series, things like Wuthering Heights, Heidi and Treasure Island.
      I can’t remember what I stuck on my bedroom walls when I was young but when I was in my teens I started collecting beer mats (the cardboard kind you find in pubs). I wasn’t allowed to visit pubs, so I had to beg everyone I knew to get them for me. By the time I left home to get married three walls were completely covered, mum had an awful job getting them down and repainting the walls when I left! The fourth wall was dedicated to The Beatles (George was my favourite).
      I wasn’t in the brownies or the guides, but I did go along when they camped in the fields on the farm where dad worked. I was always made welcome so goodness knows why I didn’t join properly. It might have been that most of the meetings were some distance from where we lived and getting to them would have been a problem. Dad was always busy with farm work and mum didn’t drive in those days, and the nearest bus service was several miles away.
      I loved your Eclipse story! I’m sure Willie will have a chuckle.
      Lots of love xx

    2. Thank you,dear Barbara for not banning me from making more comments!! I nearly died when I realised how L-O-N-G this one ended up being! I am just so glad that I jogged a few more memories about your own bedroom!! Your bookshelf sounds as if it was filled with many of the books I had myself,even though mine came a decade later! This has been such an absolute JOY to receive your warm response to my epic Email!! I do thank you,SO very much!Love and smiles till next time,Jules in Oz xoxxo

    3. One of the funniest things in growing up!
      Was! People would ask me, because of my
      love of cats.."Willie, when you die, do
      you want to come back as a cat".?
      "No! No! No! Way! Knowing my luck, they would
      call me Tom..And take me to visit the vet".
      oooooO! No! I want to keep everything l was born

    4. 😁😁😁😁

  14. I'm an 80's child, so I guess that would be my favourite decade. Although, music-wise it would be the 90's as I was (and still am) a massive Take That fan.

  15. Barbara, I have just managed to take a photo of the slide I found - I'll email it to you so you can put it on your blog connected to this post, if you would like to. The wall is very dark, it wasn't quite so dark in reality but I simply held the half frame slide up to the light and zoomed in on it, holding slide in one hand and camera in the other.

    1. Yes please that would be lovely! books (at) marchhousebooks (dot) com Sorry for the odd looking email, but I hope it will prevent it being picked up by spammers. If you put it all together and replace at and dot with the symbols it should work otherwise there is an email me button top right of this blog. Barbara xx

  16. Barbara, it was good to see my room on your blog. It is strange that I wrote the first comment about our room before my son gave me the old photos he had borrowed. I had described the room from memory but had forgotten the walking sticks and that the table was preformed plastic. In fact, that could almost be IKEA today.

    1. Hi Anne Marie, thanks so much for letting me share the photo and for your always interesting comments. Have a lovely weekend, Barbara


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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