Fitted Kitchens

Pratts of Streatham kitchen (1950s)

Pratts of Streatham kitchen (1950s)

Matching cupboards and units that you could buy in one ‘package’ – took over from freestanding cupboards and kitchens in the 1950s and 1960s.

Young families began to use a variety of new materials to modernise their homes and especially their kitchens. Formica, a heat-resistant plastic, gave old table-tops a new life, PVC blinds replaced curtains, new wallpapers were wipe-clean, and floors were covered with patterned linoleum, better known as lino.

The Englishmen Fredrick Walton invented lino in 1860. It is made of linseed oil, pigments, pine rosin and pine flour. Lino was replaced in popularity by vinyl floor coverings in the 1960s.

1974 Jonelle fitted kitchen

1974 Jonelle fitted kitchen

The classic image of a kitchen with large work spaces and a table enough to seat a big family for Sunday lunch is not so common in modern houses and flats. Smaller homes are more likely to have a tiny engine room of a kitchen, just big enough to take the essential appliances.

Keen cooks will still find all sorts of neat gadgets and space-saving designs that help create a fully equipped centre of operations. Most fittings and appliances come in slimline sizes especially for small kitchens, and the latest cabinets are designed to fit everything in without being an obstacle course.

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