The Trend House at the 1957 Ideal Home Exhibition Olympia, London
Founded in 1908 by the Daily Mail, the Ideal Home Show (formally Exhibition) was originally envisaged as a publicity tool for the newspaper and as a way of increasing its advertising revenue. It brought a world of luxury design to the newly growing middle class and quickly established itself as a must-visit event in the social calendar.
The vast majority of the British public rented their homes, but mass production methods were changing society and improving their living standards. For the first time people were beginning to have a greater disposable income which meant that the dream of owning a home was becoming a step closer to reality.
Visitors in the early days would have been amazed by the full size houses that were built at the show and wowed by the fantastic gardens that were constructed. In the 1920’s several crowned heads of Europe designed the gardens which were lit by special gas lamps that mimicked daylight so that visitors could see the true colours of the flowers.
Throughout the 1930’s the show became even more famous for introducing a marvellous array of gadgets and new inventions and became the launch pad for many of the products that we now take for granted. The vacuum cleaner, electric kettle, toaster and the Teasmade all made their debut at the Ideal Home Show.
WW2 meant that show was suspended, reopening in 1947 and over the next few decades it continued to grow in popularity, culminating in a record attendance of 1.5 million visitors in 1957. Visitors of the day would have seen the first fitted kitchen and rooms that demonstrated the height of interior fashion – open plan living!
It was at this show in 1957 that the a Canadian Trend House was built, below are some images from the show including some newsreel footage showing the exterior and interior of the house as well as footage of Queen Elizabeth inspecting the house!
A short video of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles walking through the Trend House:
And here are a few images of the interior of the Trend House in 1957. Note that there are a lot of similar finishes and details that are still reflected in the current Trend Houses. This is also one of the earliest images that I’ve found which give some clearer indication of how the interiors were furnished.