Lavish Living: Worcestershire in the 1950s

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The 1950s is sometimes referred to as the ‘optimistic’ decade. Although some of the hardships of the previous decades lingered on – some items were still being rationed as late as 1954 – Britain’s economy boomed and living standards rose rapidly too. We entered a new era of consumption, with labour-saving devices like vacuums and washing machines becoming the norm rather than the exception. For the first time working people had spare money and, crucially, increasing amounts of spare time in which to spend it.

It was a time of exciting cultural change: the golden age of cinema, the emergence of Rock’n’Roll and the increasing popularity of television which all transformed leisure time for the masses.

Our permanent exhibition Lavish Living allows visitors to step back into the past, with immersive interior sets and wonderful items from the museum collection such as beautiful costume, a fabulous jukebox, and one of the first ever dishwashers. There will be something for the whole family to enjoy including activities for children, quiz to test your knowledge and a notice board where those who remember the 50s can contribute their memories.

Standard admission prices apply. Plan your day out at Hartlebury Castle here.

This permanent exhibition opened 18 May 2021.

Image: Worcester Odeon grand opening in 1950. Photo courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association Archive.