As a designer, looking into the past can often give some inspiration; it also gives a better idea of design. I have already spoken in a previous post about helping to refurb my sister and brother-in-laws house and while dismantling and preparing we came across a number of graphics from history. It was a mixture of old items left in the house and some found under floorboards and in the garage and shed. I completed a post very similar to this when I cleared out the shed last year. Check it out here.
I remember when I was at Uni, I would be doing this sort thing all the time. I seemed to find myself immersed in design in every place I would go. When we started at the house it was the chance to find something different also learning how to do a load of new tasks. As we tore up carpets, and removed floor boards there were more opportunities to explore. There were a few things left in the house and garage, these were just the start.
Johnson & Phillips electrical product tags
The need to rewire the whole house held even more opportunities to find graphics. These tags for the wire were found while working out the direction of many of the existing wires.
The tags are from a supplier in Charlton London, which subsequently distributed. These were then sent to the Waggon and Horses in the Buttermarket, Ipswich. This was one of the many public houses in the town centre that was replaced by the Ritz cinema in the late 1930’s and is now where the abandoned BHS store is situated.
Wylex Fuse Box
Although there were some very dodgy electrics, the chance to learn a bit about wiring a house was great. The main fuse boxes were piggy back wired together. The older of the two fuse boxes is a Wylex one, I know this is irrelevant but also very interesting. The graphics in the box are fascinating. The way they have aged, the way they have been designed along with the bakelite fuse box being used. these would have been used in millions of households across Britain.
Sainsbury’s paper bag
We also found a paper bag for Sainsbury’s underneath the same set of floor boards.
The package looks to be for some groceries or smaller goods, maybe even coffee. Although very crumpled the advert on the side of it is for coffee, hence my deduction of being for coffee. The first store opened in Ipswich in the early 20th century as the store spread from London to more rural areas. The bag itself looks to be from around this era as I have also sent an email to see if i can find out some more information about it with the Sainsbury’s archive.
I also found an old Film Negative from a 110 film, Its not in the best of conditions but I have been able to process it for here. There are a few shots below, they include a car in front of the garage which still exists today and a shot of some people and a few more negatives that aren’t salvageable. See below for the results.
These are the best I could get from the the battered and aged film.
St Mary Le Tower – Voices of the Tower
We also came across an old vinyl from St Mary Le Tower, Ipswich. The significance of the item itself is quite big, as we have spoken to the church and they haven’t got a copy of it themselves. We donated it to their archives. It was really interesting to see something that was produced in the local area.
Newspapers, Wallpaper and Flooring
We also found various pieces of wallpaper from the previous decor along with a newspaper from the 70’s and 80’s. There was some really 70’s typography used as seen below.
Not only did we find stuff from the past, we also added new things to the house. With appliances they also brought in new graphics. With warning signs,included on the washing machine and the fridge packaging. On the whole this doesn’t hold as much significance, instead it shows how graphics can span from past to the present.
This was not really supposed to be a long piece of writing about the graphics, its more of a chance to immortalise them. As a collection there is a wide range of stuff. With items such as wallpaper from multiple eras, Sainsbury packaging, electrical tags and newspapers. On the whole it holds the commentary in how a house’s history can be charted from the graphics that are left behind by homeowners and the workmen who have been before. I really enjoyed exploring these going back in time and finding a few things that hold significance to the local area as well.
This was a definite step back in time, I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you think.
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