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Topic section: The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition
The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition
The first Ideal Home Exhibition, which opened at Olympia in London in 1908, was the brainchild of Wareham Smith,
Picture: 01_1983-8369.jpg
‘More of everything’ is promised to home lovers in this poster for the 1983 Exhibition.
Credit: National Railway Museum
 advertising manager of the Daily Mail newspaper. Visitors to the hugely successful Exhibition were amazed by the variety of equipment and products on offer. This was the first show to engage directly with the interests and lives of women, and its success was such that it became a regular event.

The fitted kitchen was presented at the show as every woman’s dream

After the Second World War Britain was left with little choice but to rebuild its workforce, establish new jobs,create new environments and restart family life afresh. Homes were the number one priority and the first post-war Ideal Home Exhibition was staged in 1947 in an effort to speed up the recovery process.

By the early 1950s low unemployment and increasing affluence for many saw a mood swing away from the depression of the war years towards more optimistic and forward-looking times.
Picture: 01_1983-5236_8564.jpg
Exhibitions based on property improvements and re-building of Britain’s housing areas were immensely popular at the end of World War Two. Here crowds queue outside the Daily Herald Modern Homes Exhibition, at the Dorland Hall, London in 1948.
Credit: NMPFT/Daily Herald Archive
 The 1956 Ideal Home Exhibition presented the ‘House of the Future’, which utilised many of the new materials that had become available since the war. An acute labour shortage meant that tradesmen were both scarce and expensive and as a result many people undertook their own home improvements, nurtured by the vigorous growth of the Do-It-Yourself movement.

During the 1950s, the fitted kitchen was presented at the show as every woman’s dream. By the 1960s, dining and living rooms were being transformed by radical and stylish wall storage units, and these were all the rage at the 1964-65 shows.
Picture: 01_1983-5236_DHA7029.jpg
Visitors look at Mr. And Mrs. 1980 on the bed of the future in the Homes of the Future section at the 1956 Ideal Home Exhibition.
Credit: NMPFT/Daily Herald Archive

The economic recession of the early 1970s altered expectations yet again. Against a background of cash shortages and restrictions on mortgages, whole houses were being offered up as DIY projects. With strikes and a three-day working week, people had more time to spend on garden pursuits. The garden, though smaller than previously, was becoming an essential and popular adjunct to the home. The lightweight Flymo electric hover mower was shown as a new product for the smaller garden at the 1970 Exhibition.

By 1975, the harsher economic climate, triggered in part by the growing oil crisis, meant that thoughts were turning to recycling and the issue of environmental pollution.

The Ideal Home Exhibition moved to Earls Court in 1979 and increased its appeal to women. For much of the 1980s the fitted kitchen remained as the ideal but this yielded to a more natural design with the ‘Shaker-style’ look in the 1990s. During the last ten years the Ideal Home Exhibition has gently declined, but its title remains as an iconic symbol of mass consumption.
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Topic section: Mechanisation of household tasks
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Most modern appliances were invented before 1945, and the issue was how to get them into the home. Advertisers played on women’s desire to keep their homes clean and their families entertained  > more

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Topic section: The DIY Revolution
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The DIY revolution of the 1950s and 1960s was a result of rapid social and economic change. Shortage of skilled labour and a decaying housing stock forced people to do their own renovations and decoration  > more
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