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An ex­hi­bi­tion shows leg­endary il­lus­tra­tor Heath Robinson had the hous­ing cri­sis licked

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

In 1934, Lon­don’s Ideal Home Show fea­tured an ex­hibit called “The Gad­gets”. It was the brain­child of Heath Robinson, the Is­ling­ton­born il­lus­tra­tor and hu­mourist, and con­sisted of a house in­hab­ited by pup­pets which had been rigged with all kinds of labour and space-sav­ing con­trap­tions. Here’s a maid in the kitchen op­er­at­ing a pedal-pow­ered cus­tard ma­chine. Here’s a bald man in bed who’s about to be low­ered through a trap­door into the din­ing room where his break­fast is wait­ing (morn­ing, Gromit!). The dotty inanity of Robinson’s do­mes­tic de­signs will be the sub­ject of an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Heath Robinson Mu­seum in Lon­don, which will in­clude rarely seen pho­tos of the gad­gets plus orig­i­nal art­work from Robinson’s 1936 book, How to Live in a Flat. Some of them might seem ridicu­lous (the col­lapsi­ble spare bed­room, com­plete with wall on cast­ers) while oth­ers (the sunken bath, the one-bed at­tic con­ver­sion) seem pos­i­tively pre­scient. Stay tuned for the im­mi­nent cus­tard ma­chine re­vival. —

Heath Robinson’s Home Life, 24 Novem­ber–17 Fe­bru­ary 2019;


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