‘Britain in the Fifties: Design and Aspiration’ will be on display until Saturday 3 June and is a nationally touring exhibition organised by Compton Verney Art Gallery, Warwick. Plymouth is the only South West venue on the tour.

The exhibition uses a diverse range of objects to show how, in the years that followed the Second World War, design played a crucial role in shaping a ‘Brave New World’.

A photograph of a metallic green Vespa from the 1950s“The 1950s was a time when Britain emerged from a period of austerity and rationing and really began to modernise itself,” explains programmes manager, Mark Tosdevin.

“The ground-breaking Festival of Britain in 1951 showed that we could lead the world with the quality and innovation of our decorative and applied arts. As the country became more prosperous, leading artists became household names and good design became affordable.”

‘Britain in the Fifties: Design and Aspiration’ includes furnishings and fabrics, ceramics and cutlery, magazines and machinery, clothing and memorabilia as well as an iconic Vespa – all set against the backdrop of the Council House which also dates from that era.

Wallpaper design: ‘Mobiles’ in black/lemon by Sanderson“The 1950s wasn’t just significant nationally,” continues Mark. “It was also an important decade for Plymouth, during which an ambitious rebuilding programme took place after the devastation of the Blitz. The legacy of that programme can still be seen today thanks to venues such as the Council House. This is an opportunity for people to experience a vision of the country from 60 years ago by visiting an exhibition about the 1950s in an authentic 1950s building.”

‘Britain in the Fifties: Design and Aspiration’ is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday (with the exception of Good Friday and Bank Holiday Mondays). Admission is free and there is no need to book. The exhibition runs from 25 March to 3 June.

A guided tour of the exhibition will take place from 1pm on Wednesday 29 March and lunchtime talks are also being planned for May.

Ends

Notes for editors:
For more information, photographs or interview opportunities call or email:
Jo Clarke
Marketing & Communications Officer
T +441752306228
E jo.clarke@plymouth.gov.uk