Saturday, 20 May 2017

A century and a bit of your front room

Now I am fascinated by the idea of taking one house and telling its story over a century and a bit.

And it is a project which has led to three different sets of stories on the three places I have called home since 1951.*

But what has always been lacking are a good set of photographs which contrast the way we lived in the past with contemporary living.

Of course part of the explanation is that we didn’t have a camera, added to which it never occurred to us to record where we lived.

If you did it was just as a backdrop to a family snap.

The sort of photograph which showed Aunt Ethel smiling back at you on her birthday or the family gathered together after a christening.

All of which is a shame because being able to stare at the same spot separated by a hundred years intrigues me.

Take this picture of the front room of a house in Maple Avenue.  It is a typical Edwardian room filled with objects which fight for every available bit of space.

Of course at a time when many families including quite humble ones employed a servant that degree of clutter was just someone else job to dust.

Our house like many was a compromise.  My parents had opted for some new bits of furniture which were simple and clean in design but they sat beside a mix of bits which had been inherited, or bought second hand and joined the “Utility chairs” they had picked up cheap in the local market.

All of which seemed a long way from the sort of life offered on the pages of Habitat which in the fullness of time became our manual for contemporary living.

The shopping spree at the John Dalton Habitat might only have extended to a wine carafe and one of those transparent plastic frames for displaying a cook book but it was a step on the road to elegant living.

And when the transition was made from bed sit or shared flat to that first house, most of us had a notion of how it would be decorated and furnished.

All of which is an introduction to a collection of pictures which make that contrast in living styles.

I was recently shown round the development at 200/198 Upper Chorlton Road.  The properties had been built in 1872 and for their last fifty or so years had been neglected.**

Now they are being brought back with some tender care and attention to detail by Armistead Properties which offered up a few shots of the show room which makes for a nice contrast to the inside of Maple Avenue.

The rest as they say is pretty much for you to compare.

Location; Chorlton over a century and a bit

Pictures;sitting room Maple Avenue early 20th century, from the collection of Ray Jones and show flat at 200/198 Upper Chorlton Road

*ChorltonEltham,  Peckham, 

**At 200/198 Upper Chorlton Road,
***Armistead Properties

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