Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The 1940's Christmas House

Well I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas? For me it seems to have whizzed by in a flash and I'm now feeling a little sad that Christmas is pretty much over for yet another year. Something else we've been feeling a little blue about is the fact that a wonderful exhibition at the Imperial War Museum is about to close so yesterday, we thought we'd better visit it for a last time.

We initially visited this brilliant museum about the same time last year (you can read my post with more photos here) and we really loved the exhibition The Children's War. Not only is there lots of fabulous information and exhibits relating to the evacuees of the Second World War, the jewel in the crown is the reconstruction of a 1940's house.

The outside of the house has a light dusting of snow. Mr HenHouse is wondering if you'd like to see inside?

I've posted about the house before but I couldn't resist doing so again. I've just taken a few snaps showing you the house decorated for Christmas, 1940's style. I really love this sitting room. I can't believe they are going to dismantle this house when so much effort has clearly gone into making it. The attention to detail is brilliant. So as you can see, now there is a tree but without lights as would have been the case during the war, paper streamers abound and the odd Chinese lantern.

There are Christmas cards on the mantelpiece and the stockings hang above the fireplace, made of real socks and no doubt containing an orange in the toe, if they could get hold of one? A carrot and mince pie have been left on the hearth, ready for Rudolph and Father Christmas.

Somebody has been wrapping up their presents at the table, probably re-using last year's paper and they've been listening to the gramophone. Indeed, the crackle of Christmas carols filled the air making the house very atmospheric.

In the kitchen, no doubt the lady of the house has been busy.

She has done well to stockpile supplies, there is a chicken on the stove, and over on the counter, some sherry. She has even managed to make a Christmas pudding and mince pies. We watched a great programme the other night "Ration Book Britain", which showed how they made a Christmas pudding during the War, using powdered egg and carrot, as dried fruit was a luxury probably not available. There was no rum sauce but "mock cream" which looked pretty yucky! Ration coupons would be saved up to make the Christmas dinner extra special. We can see they had some crackers, these too were probably homemade using cardboard from the inner of toilet rolls and some crepe paper.

In the dining room, there was a little festive holly on the fireplace, at least that would have been free!

This really is a wonderful exhibit and if you have the chance to visit, it is open until 2 January so hurry!


  1. The photos look very interesting.
    Hope you had a really lovely Christmas
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  2. What a lovely post! Thanks for giving a glimpse of the exhibition that I will never get to see x

    Enjoy the rest of christmas break!

    Leah x

  3. Wow it looks amazing! We moved into a 1930's house this year so now I'm wondering what it would have looked like around that time. The kitchen photos take me back (no not that far!) to the time when Mr Jam and I used to deal in kitchenalia. I couldn't get hold of those enamel topped tables fast enough!
    Hope you've all had a lovely Christmas

  4. What a lovely house. Seems such a shame to dismantle it. If only I leaved near enough to visit it. Though thanks for the pictures. If I can't physically go, they are the next best thing.

  5. what an amazing place to visit,they certainly put the effort in to make it true to how it would have been.

    Gosh, I'm sure I vaguely remember my mum and dad having a fireplace like that in our home, I know the the fireguard looks familiar, we definitely had one like that.

    Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas.

  6. Superb- the attention to detail is indeed wonderful.Reminds me of my Grandmother's house- only posher!

  7. What a shame that it is going away. Such an important lesson in how lucky we are with all the convenient products available to us now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. I still feel it such a crying shame that they are closing this exhib :( I really thought it might become something more permanent. Alas.

  9. I love christmas 40's style....good post kind of thing totally!
    I love the idea that the "mother" saved all her good stuff for a day such as this....waiting for her husband to come home, so they could show him a good time....
    My tree looks like that one.....but with lights, as we are not having to stick to blackout rules.....:>)

    Hope you had a relaxing day....we had a fun time...just doing a whole load of house work (again) ready for more guests on Friday......Olly's it's a proper mother in law clean up!


  10. I love anything like that. Our Potteries museum has a few room sets, my favourite is the old style chip shop.

  11. So sad it will be dismantled. Are they re-assembling it anywhere? Such a shame if not.
    I recognise quite a few of the items.
    Carol xx

  12. I remember the first time I saw that house and got the spooks because it's so similar to my own house! The decor and furniture is different and we've extended the kitchen now but it's very spooky standing in certain places, it's like going back in time literally!
    I'm going to miss it looking festive because I can't get to london before the 2nd but I'm sure I'll pay a visit next time I'm over that way, thanks for sharing! :)
    Jess x

  13. I am new to your blog--I saw your blog linked in someone's sidebar and the title intrigued me. This house looks just like a DVD I have called 1940's House.

    Thank you for sharing these pictures, I enjoyed looking at them. :o)

  14. So pleased you had a good Christmas Hen. It did whizz by didn't it?

    Thankyou so much for sharing this. I love your photos, and this is somewhere I would really have liked to visit!
    I do like that teacosy in the kitchen :o)

    Happy New Year to you and yours Hen.
    Take care my dear.
    Kindest regards as always,
    Donna xx

  15. Merry christmas to you too Hen, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am so cross I didn't get to the Imperial War Museum when we were in london a few days ago, I would have loved to have seen the 1940s house. Thanks for sharing the great photos though.
    Ann x

  16. Thanks for sharing that, Hen. I visited the 1940s House in 2005 while on a visit to London (I live in Canada) so it was lovely to see it again.

  17. We took the kids at school to see that a few months ago (before the Christmas decorations) it's fab isnt it?
    It's just like my grandparents house. Quite scarily so.

    Happy 2012 to you. x

  18. I love the imperial war museum and had such a fun day with my class (we all dressed up in forties outfits) a few months ago. Love love and more love the decorations in the house, thank you for taking photos x

  19. What a fascinating house ,i love seing how things used to be ,such a shame the house cant stay i wish ide been able to see it for myself so thanks for sharing ,love francinexx

  20. Fascinating! Would love to transport myself back to that era...just for a day mind!
    Hope you all had a super Christmas Hen. :0)

  21. I was really shocked when I got the emailing saying it was closing :( I was planning to go with my dad, I feel really sad I've missed it but thanks for sharing your photo's x

  22. Dear Hen, I hope you have had wonderful Christmas days! Thank you for all your lovely posts and pictures - you know how to put a smile on someone's face.
    Ich wish you and your family a happy new year 2012 - mayall your dreams and wishes come true! Hugs Nicolexxx

  23. This house looks ever so beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your pictures.

    Have a wonderful 2012.

  24. Wow... you're married to Colin Firth? Well, Mr HenHouse looks rather like him to me in that shot

    I remember re-using wrapping paper, mum and I were only talking about this over Christmas this year as we rolled up all our discarded wrappings for recycling

  25. That is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. I am sad to hear that this is being dismantled. I went a few years ago & LOVED it.x

  26. I love your blog a lot.I think your work is very interesting.I read every day your thins and your house is great.Sory for my English.I have a blog since 2 months,but i'm not so good in that.
    God bless you

  27. So lovely! I am especially loving the green front door! What an interesting post - I wish I lived closer to your neck of hte woods so I could visit! Maybe are welcome to visit Alaska via Home in Douglas!


You are warmly encouraged to leave a comment here. Your comments are emailed directly to me so rest assured I read and treasure every one. Thank you for supporting my blog with your comment. X