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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Time Travelling with Metro-Land 1930's Housewife

This was my
Ashes to Ashes or Life on Mars moment.

Mrs Dilys Muybridge - 1930's Metro-land Housewife - LT Museum

On Friday I mentioned that I might pop along to see one of the 1930's period actors that they have at the London Transport Museum. It was part of the longlisted Art Fund Prize nominees "Love your London Museum Day". Thanks to Jane Findlay - the LT Museum's very foresighted community curator for telling me all about it.

Mrs Dilys Muybridge (no idea where the name comes from but I bet it's an anagram) was very polite and well spoken & welcomed us to the stand. It's the weirdest thing talking in depth to someone pretending to be from the 1930's when you know they know you're from the future! Except you're not cos you're all obviously in the same period of time.

We chatted about house prices and she said that her seven bedroom house in Harrow Garden Village (roughly where Rayners Lane Tube is now) was about £700 and obviously not cheap. But for the same price she would have only got something much smaller in central London. Her family would have been looking to spend about £1,000 for a small house or apartment in the centre of town. However, she loved living in Metro-Land, and her husband only took 20 minutes to get to Baker Street and she could spend her days with the children, playing tennis or making the occasional trip to the shops.

She hadn't heard of Derry & Toms (huge old department store just off High Street Ken) when I asked her. It was only just being built in 1932, so that was no surprise. But she was "a most enthusiastic shopper". She didn't have a TV, "bit too expensive", but knew people who did. I used the TV to try to describe the Internet to her, as she was keen to find out why I was soooo interested in her.

I said think of it as a TV but with people from all over the world in it, who you can talk to and they talk back to you. "Wouldn't that be frightfully noisy?" she said. "It's bad enough with me and the children". "But they do it quietly", I laughed, "They're just typing". She looked noticeably relieved.

I then said I wanted to take her photo for the blog. "The what?". Oh gawd, how did I explain a blog - it's hard enough trying to do that to people in the 21st century. "Well it's like a diary". She looked happy: "Oh a journal, yes I keep one of those". "But people from around the world can look at it and they can make comments on it as well". I explained.

"Really, so people from the United States of America might be able to see me?"
"Yep"
"And they can learn about the Museum and where I live?"
"Yes"
"Fascinating, I'll put my best smile on then".

Which she did. I wish my knowledge of 1930's London extended beyond Hercule Poirot (she was a fan of his - he's also been the basis of some quizzes on this blog), but she really knew her stuff and we had a brill time.

Speaking of the Museum, this is just a final reminder to vote for the photos from last month's Flickr MiniMeet at the Museum that you'd like to see on their website. Voting closes at 11.59pm UK time. Ta muchly.


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