Monday, May 21, 2012

Windows to a new world

 By chance I came across some interesting display advertisements from 1950. They are line drawings for this is when photographic reproduction in newspapers was limited and so everything from cars, fridges and bread was by illustration. They are interesting because they are by Richard Hilder (1905-1993) a great painter, especially of landscapes. He also a top illustrator, the chap who produced those classics of the countryside for the Shell Oil Company in the 1930's. The open road, speed and the slogan "That's Shell -That Was!" 'cos the car is in the distant of the spectacular scenery.

So far I've found thirteen low-fidelity reproductions for a series entitled "Windows To A New World". It would be good to obtain better reproductions and let them be seen by a wider audience.

The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers store on Toad Lane is one of them. That looks like the Central Stores of the Society in the background and I don't think that building exists anymore. Fortunately some had the foresight to save the old store otherwise it would just be a blue plaque on the side of a car park. Another is the E&S CWS Tea Warehouse on the Manchester Ship Canal. It was opposite the Pomona Docks on the Salford side. That has been demolished and the docks too.

Others in the series include the Bradford Co-Op Emporium a wonderful art deco building, the CWS Flour Mill at the Royal Victoria Dock in London, a mobile shop in Penrith, and Co-op Tullygoonigan Creamery in Northern Ireland. It's like a Pevsner guide of 1950's Britain.

Each advert extols the virtues of the CWS production and gives a little bit of history. "The CWS produces in its own 194 factories almost every other commodity needed in the home. Britain's biggest business, it helps more than 10,000,000 Co-op members cut their cost of living."

Well the factories have gone but at least we still have a museum and it re-opens soon.

For some better versions with more detail see the same advertisements in Lilliput magazine from the same time. A couple of good posts on Visual Rants, which gives more information about these drawings.


Andrew Simpson said...

Bring them on Lawrence

lorenzo23 said...

I've since found better version that were in Lilliput magazine.

It's a good illustration of the RACS art deco building on Powis Street in Woolwich. You might even remember it from your formative years in the hub of the Empire.

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.