There’s nothing better than after a long busy day settling down with a magazine and a cuppa.
Normally Cosmopolitan, Glamour or Company is the order of the day, but a few months ago Mama Vintage dug out some vintage corkers from 1953.
The media can provide a fascinating insight into our social history and this copy of Homes and Gardens from March 1953 does just that.
Given that it’s about homes and gardens (as the title may suggest) bizarrely the cover shot is of a then 4-year-old Prince Charles.
And in the manner of contemporary publications OK! magazine and Hello! this feature offers a snapshot of royal family life including personal shots of Prince Charles and his sister Princess Anne.
Readers are told how the future heir is fascinated by the changing of the guard, loves singing and dancing along to the gramophone (as a treat) and has a white pet rabbit called Harvey.
For a magazine that purports to dedicate at least half of its title to homes, these are surprisingly lacking in the March 1953 edition.
There are just two stories about homes, one about a cottage conversion (with not many pictures) and the other about Castlewood House, an estate on the fringe of Windsor Great Park.
What I was fascinated by in this magazine were the adverts.
First up this mid-century modern bathroom conversion featuring a coloured suite in a terracotta brown.
Outside toilets were still the norm for many families in the UK, so this ‘dream’ bathroom, boasting an indoor toilet and a permanent bath (as opposed to a tin bath in front of the fire) really was the height of luxury.
Most modern homes have ripped-out suites like this, choosing instead to opt for sunglasses-inducing white.
I don’t know about you, but I quite like the look of this design.
I know the magazine is 60 years old and I should expect a marked difference in advertising, but I didn’t half shake my head and laugh when I read this advert.
The fact is, I would prove to be hopeless if faced with a boiler, but there’s no need to shout about it from the rooftops.
These days you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone (other than a technician) who was any good with a boiler.
So husbands, you can zip it!
I love the bold splashes of colour that feature on a couple of the pages – this advert screams early Mad Men, and wouldn’t look out of place on the delectable Joan.
I particularly like the unusual collar detail and the citrus colour pop.
The subs of this magazine are consistently reinforcing gender stereotypes juxtaposing fashion (one must always look good for one’s husband) and domestic duties side-by-side on the page.
But I must admit, I do like the look of those two skirts…
I’m a sucker for a stylish vintage hat, and this double-page spread not only illustrates the styles du jour but also offers information and handy tips.
Fashion Editor P. Joyce Reynolds notes that “Caps, muffin berets, toques, sailors, bonnets, the cloche and the flower-pot shapes, all cling to the head like limpets.”
And reassures those of a slightly larger disposition that: “These tiny hats are very feminine, and definitely becoming as width is placed strategically for the woman with a larger face.”
Having undertaken your cleaning duties, ensured you’re decked-out in the latest fashionable attire, now it’s time to fulfill more housewife duties.
In fact for those readers who are newly weds or are about to get married, there is an advert for the Pitman Household Management Course (in collaboration with the Good Housekeeping Institute).
This “fascinating and practical home study course will solve all your housekeeping problems, save you time and money, and make yours a happy and efficient home.” Sign me up!
I love these kitsch-tastic Weetabix advert, just look how happy you can make your children if you feed them this cereal!
Or at least put your feet up for five minutes and get involved in the latest gripping fiction.
I LOVE the illustration for this piece – her hair, her make-up, that dress…!
Amused or rattled by the sexist 1950s advertising? Is a woman’s place now just in the home?