60 years on Miller Homes takes a trip down Memory Lane

A typical street scene at the Miller Homes Brooklands development.
A typical street scene at the Miller Homes Brooklands development.

With all eyes on the Diamond Jubilee , house builder Miller Homes has taken a trip down memory lane to look at how the properties of today compare with the homes we lived in in 1952, when HRH Queen Elizabeth first came to the throne.

Steve McElroy, sales director for Miller Homes Yorkshire region, said: “Over the last 60 years, the world around us has changed massively, and we thought it would be great fun to travel back in time and take a look at how home-related trends have moved on since the beginning of the Queen’s reign.

“The most striking change has been in house prices. According to data from Nationwide, the average cost of a home in 1952 was £1,891 – a figure which many will find quite unbelievable given that today’s average UK house price stands at £164,134.

“Today, as a nation we are quite taken with closely monitoring any movement in house prices, with a whole host of indices and reports regularly released to indulge our obsession. And this looks like a trend which is here to stay, as house prices continue to make headlines on the national news and the front page of the national newspapers. However, as these figures show, there is no denying the long term profitability of bricks and mortar.

“Over the last six decades, the average UK household has changed. Back in 1952, an average of 4.2 people lived in each property – 2.2 children and a husband and wife – and many couples began married life in the parental home. Today of course, the family unit is not so typically defined and with trends such as a big rise in the number of people living alone, together with friends sharing and couples living together before marriage, each property is now home to an average of 2.3 people.

“The inside of the home is virtually unrecognisable to the properties we lived in at the time of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation. Back then, few households owned white goods which would now be considered essentials – only 33 per cent had a washing machine and 15 per cent had a fridge and freezer. This is almost unthinkable in today’s world where fitted kitchens and the very latest design-led, time-saving appliances are top of the wish list for most homeowners, and almost £3.5 billion was spent on major household appliances throughout the UK in 2011.

“Only 14 per cent of households had a television in 1952, whereas we are now surrounded by technology in the home. There are flat screen televisions in several rooms of the house, not to mention laptops, computers, iPads, smart phones, and almost 77 per cent of UK households have internet access – whereas the development of computers was only just getting under way in the 1950s.

“It is interesting how some home and lifestyle trends from 1950s are making a come-back. In the post-war era, home life was the focus and the wife generally assumed the role of ‘homemaker’. Magazine front covers and adverts showed women smiling in pressed, clean linens ironing and baking; and it seems we are seeing a return to these traditional values.

“The ‘Keep calm and carry on slogan’ has reappeared, hobbies such as knitting and baking are enjoying a renaissance, and Cath Kidston-style homewares are being favoured by a new generation of women who want to make the most of their homes – although it is fair to say at the same time they are enjoying all the benefits of modern house design and highly advanced interiors.

“It is impossible to know how trends will evolve and how our properties and the ways in which we live in our space will continue to change, but we could be living in a very different world by the time the nation celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s next Jubilee milestone.”