Step back into the Seventies at cottage
Chiltern Open Air Museum Community learning officer Lucy Dowling writes about the museum’s bid to refurnish part of a re-built cottage in 1970s style
THERE is a definite divide in people’s opinions when you ask them about their memories of the 1970s. Politically and economically things weren’t the best for Britain but in other ways the 70s could be seen as a successful decade.
Many people went abroad on holidays for the first time, the must-have toy of the decade, the space hopper, was invented and the music industry brought the likes of Abba and David Bowie on to the scene.
Chiltern Open Air Museum will inspire visitors to relive their memories of the 70s next season with a 1970s bedroom in the newlyrebuilt Croft Cottage, rescued from Haddenham in the Aylesbury Vale.
Although the upstairs bedrooms are not completed yet, the team are currently furnishing the downstairs living room and kitchen/dining room for the 1830s, while the three bedrooms will be furnished as they might have been in 1837, 1910 and the 1970s.
The Kew family were the last inhabitants of Haddenham Croft Cottage before it was dismantled in 1977 and brought back to the museum. The three daughters were very happy to share their memories with us about life living in Haddenham during the 70s.
Karla was around 11 years old at the time the cottage was dismantled and remembers her sister’s room.
She said: “The walls were papered with thick wallpaper of pale vertical stripes in blues, greens and creams. She had a purple bed throw which was the reason behind the purple colour scheme of the room.
The carpet was purple with black swirls and the curtains purple nylon.
“We had roller skates and played Twister a lot! Myself and my sister, Joanne, also had stylophones. We were into the Bay City Rollers and had a few posters”.
We are now trying to recreate the 1970s bedroom around Karla’s memories and are currently looking for furniture and other objects to help furnish the room.
We’re particularly keen to find a purple and white throw, purple carpet with black swirls, purple vinyl curtains, a shag pile rug and a long mirror.
If you have any of these items and would like to contribute to our new 1970s bedroom by donating them to the museum, please e-mail a photo of the item with a description to Lucy Dowling at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear the stories behind your object, so please do tel us about your family memories, which will help to make the bedroom artefact you donate even more special for our visitors in the future.
For more information about Haddenham Croft Cottage and how you can help furnish the building, visit our web site at www.coam.org. uk.
The Kew family who lived in the cottage in the 70s with Helen Horler, third from left, a consultant on the project. They paid a nostalgic visit to the museum to view their former home and inset, Aileen McSloy, artefact team leader at the museum with some of the items from the 1970s house