The Homes & Antiques 1950s living room at the Royal Festival Hall is now a home away from home. The curtains and pictures have been hung, the paint has dried, and the table is set for a light supper.
I've been camped out at the Southbank for the last three days decorating and dressing the room in anticipation for the opening this Friday, the 22nd April. Couriers, set builders, electricians have all passed through the space and the sound of drilling has been a constant, but spirits are high and the whole Museum of 51 is taking shape. Framed souvenirs are being placed into cabinets, posters hung and yesterday it took about 10 men to lower a huge model of the 1951 site into place.
It hasn't all been plain sailing, though. The television I bought on ebay arrived at H&A HQ smashed to smithereens so I spent last Friday in taxis scouting Bristol for either a 1950's or pre 1950's set for the room. But help was at hand when I visited Stewart of Cream and Chrome (also loaned me two lamps which can be spotted in the room set) who put in some calls and hurrah - a 1940s bakelite TV was available in another area of the city! Then I had another mad dash to Love from Random on Bristol's Park Street for a TV table for it to sit on.
This afternoon the voice message on our interactive telephone has been recorded, which is suitably 'BBC'. Visitors will be able to record their memories of the 1951 event, as well as talking about their impressions of the 60th anniversary celebrations. I hope our living room will trigger some fond recollections for those who lived through the period and give pleasure to those who didn't, so do come and perch on the sofa for a while and make yourself at home.
I'll be sorry to leave the 1950s behind as I've become quite attached to the space, I haven't stopped wearing my 1950s pinny as I've been setting up.
On a personal note, my grandmother died yesterday so I've placed a picture of her and her sister, taken in the 1950s, in the room. I don't know if she visited the festival but I know she would have loved it – both first time around and now.
Kiera Buckley-Jones, stylist