Another key source of optimism was the Festival of Britain which inspired a renewed focus on all things British. The magazine began speaking to a younger audience with suggestions for furnishing for the first time and working with small spaces. It even launched its own interiors problem page. One simply sent in details of the size and aspect of your room, listing existing furniture and fittings and then the furnishings editor (later editor) Psyche Pirie would reply with a stern brief that left little room for your own personal touch. The comfortable fiction of the war years gave way to edgier reads such as ‘What Is A Nervous Breakdown’ and ‘Shall We Stay Married’. Fashion pages went out on location, celebrities shared diet tips and the food section featured aubergines and sweet peppers. Televisions were everywhere. Hot H&G topics:‘Concerning’ blackout blinds.The benefits of a built-in kitchen.

Key influences in the 1940s and 1950s

Discover more of the history of Homes & Gardens In the Zeitgeist

Rationing (and how to get around it).Coronation fever.

Headline news

The creation of the NHS.Marilyn Monroe visits Britain.

Cultural radar

The Abstract Expressionism art of Pollock, Rothko and co sprung from European surrealism and was the first American art movement to have international influence.In the summer of 1951, more than eight million people flocked to experience The Festival of Britain – a project promoting British advances in art technology, architecture and design.

Lifestyle moments

Christian Dior’s debut collection in February 1947 launched a new glamour with nipped waists, full skirts and soft shoulders. The clothes met with an ecstatic response, revived the French fashion industry and influenced fashion for decades.When Bill Haley & His Comets hit the airwaves, the kids went crazy for rock ’n’ roll and teenagers were suddenly big business.

Household essential

The gas mask. Not as glamorous as the cocktail shaker or the wireless, but the government was taking no chances and everyone had to have one. Fines were issued for non-compliance.Often, but not always, a Dansette, the record player of the Fifties, looked like a small suitcase right down to the carrying handle. Back then, a playlist meant stacking singles on the spindle and the mechanism played one record after the other.

Who knew?

Bing Crosby’s recording of White Christmas remains the biggest-selling single ever, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.A new prosperity meant that there were a lot more cars on the road. Illogically, the M1 wasn’t the first motorway – that honour was bestowed on the M6 Preston By-Pass.