70 Years Gone - 70 Years Ahead

Issue 81

As everybody reads this, we are recovering from the parties that have been held up and down the country in celebration of Her Majesty's 70 years on the throne. 70 years gone have seen major changes in fashions, and not just in clothes. What does the next 70 years hold?


70 years ago, not every home in the UK had running water, a lot only had an outside toilet, and heating was almost entirely by coal fires. Central heating was a luxury few had and many hadn’t even heard of. Jumping forward to 2022, coal fires and outside toilets are rarities. Running water in houses is absolutely standard and very few houses have only an outside toilet. We still in the UK use brick and tile for a lot of our housing construction; but in the future I think the most dramatic change we are likely to see will be in energy efficiencies. With governments throughout the world keen to press on with ”green” energy policies, we will see more use of ground source heating and solar power; I think traditional solar panels as are added to roofs nowadays will be supplanted by panels incorporated into the main construction. We will see more use of ground source heating. There will be demand for bigger kitchens for more equipment (how many houses had a fridge in 1952? – how many homes in 2022 don’t have a microwave?) – and how many microwaves are being supplanted by air fryers?


Office work is course a hotbed of discussion at the moment as some people claim to work more effectively from home, whereas some employers believe people should be back behind desks. Offices now revolve around vast amounts of IT (in 1980 when I started work, the national firm of surveyors I worked for had one computer serving the whole of the business, and in 1982 they employed a specialist ”secretarial” type person who was the ”word processor operator”. Compare that to now – and what will we see in the next 70 years?


A traditional old image that one might expect to see on a ”Carry On” film or a kitchen sink drama typically based in the Northwest with men in cloth caps and their wives at home wearing a scarf around their hair as they scrub steps. It is a major contrast to the factories that now exist on the Team Valley, but of course when the estate was first built and up until the times of the Queen’s succession, these ”Northlight” style factories were the norm. As the UK has moved so far away from heavy engineering and heavy manufacturing, factories are a whole lot cleaner than they ever were. In the future we are going to see even more mechanisation within them – which will change their architecture in the future.


What is different about this pub in the picture compared to one on Osborne Road nowadays? I like a good local e.g. the Cross Keys in Esh Village Durham, the Stags Head in Byker or the Tynemouth Lodge in Tynemouth, and we do now have ”super pubs” – so much more than pints of beer and a jukebox. Pubs are definitely looking at having to provide more of an experience, as are restaurants as we get more exotic in our tastes and more demanding. The problem for the trade is that whereas the public have become more demanding they are not willing to increase their expenditure in line with their demands. Is this going to see a major change in the next 70 years where restaurants go back to being more of a preserve of the middle classes? (if that doesn’t sound too snobby).

I have been in this property game for 42 years so I have seen a lot of the changes at first hand. However, there are others that have been around nearly as long as me (and even a few who have been around longer) – what do you think? What do the young people think?

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