Market Lavington Museum

A 1950s fireplace


Heating a home has changed a lot since the 1950s. Nowadays, most homes have some form of central heating. Our local villages of Market Lavington and Easterton do not have a mains gas supply, but most residents have central heating, often powered by oil or electricity. Concerns over global warming may well mean that we see further changes in heating methods over the coming decades.

Back in the 1950s, it was usual to have just the main living rooms and possibly the master bedroom heated with fireplaces built in for coal or wood fires. Other rooms were sometimes heated as needed by plugging in a radiant electric heater.

This photograph shows the tiled living room fireplace in a Market Lavington home, built in 1952. Sliding the knob below the grate to the centre allowed a greater air supply to be available when the fire was first lit. The knob could be moved to the left or right closed position once the fire was well alight.

The ash fell down through the bars that the fire was resting on and had to be taken away by shovel when the fire was out. Coal or logs needed to be added to the fire at regular intervals, so it wasn’t possible to keep the heating on overnight or if one went out for several hours.