"During the war"...as Uncle Albert would say, the government devised a scheme to help those who had been bombed out, or newly wed, to refurnish their homes. A catalogue with certain styles and choices of basic furniture design, made with wooden frames, drawers and handles, with lesser materials, such as ply on the sides and backs. This cheaper range and style of furniture became known as Utility.
Each piece of furniture had the utility logo stamped onto it, known as the "Two Cheeses". I recently purchased a cupboard off eBay. A bedroom tallboy, which originally cost £9,5,3. We paid £22:00. The varnish has seen better days and it actually looked like it had survived several wars!
Once sanded, the sides being ply were pretty bad, so out came the paint! The front of the unit has some lovely doors, which I inlaid with a map of a bombed area of London, a little nod to its history.
One of the reasons I love old furniture, is it's history. The life it lived before it came to me. Inside one of the drawers and one the back panel written in chalk are the names of a previous couple. Is it the original couple? Did this couple buy it second hand? who are Stanley and Rose from Aldershot?
Stanley and Rose, whoever you are...your old cupboard has a new life, and takes pride of place in our front room!
The utility scheme was officially closed in 1952, the same year that furniture rationing ceased.