H&G in the 1960s and 1970s

Feeling groovy!

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For Homes & Gardens the sixties were less about swinging and more about swimming. The outdoor pool was the must-have, closely followed by a built-in kitchen and anything remotely Scandi. The magazine never went full Austin Powers but did love a garishly patterned carpet. Shopping was the new leisure activity and features celebrated the joy of hunting for junk. Reviews of cars and hi-fi paved the way for Man’s Talk: a bewildering page of tips, from waterproofing your raincoat, to why it was the time to buy land in Nassau.

The magazine embraced the new design spirit, coming out strongly in favour of man-made materials and sculptural furniture. David Hicks was the designer du jour. Health foods were in as was dressing like a peasant.

At the prospect of joining the EU, the features team jetted off to Europe to meet manufacturers and launched Getting To Know You, a cultural celebration of our neighbours. Hostess trolleys and coloured kitchen sinks were on everyone’s wish-lists.

Hot H&G topics: Metric matters around the house. Open-plan living.

FIVE FABULOUS LOCATIONS

During the ‘fashion’ years we didn’t just send our photographers to houses and gardens…

1. Regine’s nightclub (Jun 79)
2. A racing pigeon shed (Feb 77)
3. The Old Caledonia paddle steamer (Jan 73)
4. A snooker hall (Nov 73)
5. Underwater (June 61)

KEY INFLUENCES IN THE 1960s and 1970s

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Discover more of the history of Homes & Gardens

In the Zeitgeist

  • Beatlemania – the latest thing 
or the height of depravity?
  • The miniskirt – ditto.
  • Strikes. Strikes. More strikes.

Headline news

  • Man walks on the moon.
  • Britain joins the EEC.
  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the UK’s first female prime minister.

Cultural radar

  • Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles introduces the idea of a concept 
album. In the same month, H&G runs
 a feature on pea-green carpet.
  • Behind the Mohawks and piercings, what made punk matter was its DIY spirit. It created a sense of possibility.

Lifestyle moments

  • With a curated mix of rustic Mediterranean chic, European design classics and later a pioneering catalogue, Habitat became the byword for everything that was now.
  • Biba was already the 
groovy go-to when it relocated to a department store on Kensington High Street in 1973. Barbara Hulanicki filled it with affordable fashion and furniture to create a new shopping experience.

Household essential

  • In 1964, when BBC2 launched, 84 per cent of households had a TV set. Coronation Street and Doctor Who 
were appointment viewing.
  • Avocado green bathrooms remain shorthand for all that was wrong with the Seventies, but the fact is colourful sanitaryware had been available since the Thirties. Guaranteed to add drama, the real issue was the limescale stains.

Who knew?

  • Britain’s first Tupperware party was held in October 1960. Hostesses had a dress code of skirts, tights and white gloves.
  • Bedtime reading got a rise with Dr Alex Comfort’s manual The Joy of Sex, which sold 12 million copies.

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