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Designing Britain 1945 - 1975 > Oral testimony and the Interpretation of the Crafts
 
INTRODUCTION

This module will provide students with an introduction to the phenomenon of 1950s London coffee bars. In particular it will look at the work of three ceramists working in London in the 1950s and the interior designs they produced for coffee bars and restaurants. Images from the Design Council Archive are included alongside audio and video from the National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts, (NEVAC). Students will learn about oral history interviewing and its use as a research methodology.

The link between the Design Council images and interviews in NEVAC is the ceramist William Newland. Along with his wife Margaret Hine and colleague Nicholas Vergette, he designed and made many of the interior schemes for the early coffee bars (and later for the Golden Egg restaurants, which grew out of the coffee bar scene). These artists are often referred to as the Picassoettes. This module looks at their work for the coffee bars and Golden Eggs.

The three articles below contain images that are held by the Design Council Archive at the University of Brighton. They constitute the main texts and source material for this module.

. Anthony Adams, 'Thought for food', Design, no.90, June 1956, pp.20-23.
. Kate Baynes, 'Eating out can be fun', Design, February 1966, pp.29-37.
. Paul Reilly and Helen Low, 'London coffee bars', Architecture and Building, March 1955, pp.83-95.

Aims
· To learn about the growth of the London coffee bar scene (as a case study of mid-twentieth century British catering).
· To investigate the work of William Newland, Margaret Hine and Nicholas Vergette during the 1950s and early 1960s. Using the three articles listed above as the primary sources, the module will look at the catering environments in which their work was situated.
· To extend research skills through engagement with oral history interviews and appropriate methods and techniques.

Learning outcomes
Successful completion of this module should enable the student to:
· Understand the place of the 'Picassoettes' within 1950s British craft history.
· Understand the rise of the coffee bar in London as part of a wider design, social and catering history.
· Use a variety of research approaches to expand knowledge of the subject. This will include literature and Internet searches as well as oral history interviewing.

How will the module work?
The module has been structured as if the student were completing a 15-week taught undergraduate module. Students are encouraged to complete the course in sequence but it can be worked through in any order. This is a prototype module, but it is understood that in reality students would complete the activities outlined on the website and get feedback from their tutor as they progressed through the module.

The module is split in to five parts. During each part there are activities which build towards the completion of a project assignment by week 15. Clues to answering many of the activities and questions are given throughout the site. You must therefore look at the whole site to get the most out of it.
 
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All audio and video clips used on this site are copyright the National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts, 2002.