An advert for York Minster Stoneware, from the York ‘Official Guide and Miniguide’, published in the early 1970s (about 1972).
These days, when older stone fragments of the Minster are removed for the endless renewal the building needs, the fragments are auctioned to raise funds for that continuing renewal, and are thought attractive and meaningful in their natural state.
Forty years ago a company in Garforth made them into the kind of objects thought desirable in the early 1970s home. Table lamp bases, pen holders, and even cigarette lighters.
Though younger readers won’t remember those days, in the early 1970s smokers weren’t thought of as a stinky unwanted minority of social outcasts, instead smoking was so acceptable that smokers were likely to find, in many of the homes they visited, a solid and permanent cigarette lighter displayed as part of the ‘tableware’. This was quite chic and sophisticated.
The idea that they could be made from a chunk of cathedral seems totally and amusingly incongruous now, looking back.
This advert is so beautifully 1970s in so many ways. Even the colours of the lampshades (mustard, orange, green) supplied to go on top of your York Minster stone lamp base. To make them ‘useful’, these fragments of York Minster stone with ‘up to 750 years attractive weathering’ are turned into table lighters, pen holders and a base for a calendar, which I suspect was 1970s plastic, with no weathering at all.
A talking point, no doubt, at the 1970s dinner parties.
There must be some of these around still. Perhaps one of the ‘perpetual calendars’ is still in use. Please add a comment if you have/had one.
A reminder of how much things have changed in my lifetime. And a reminder that the 1970s is ‘real history’ already.