The industrial landscape of West Yorkshire, much of it to do with 19th and 20th century textile history, is still there. Shelf Appeal’s first proper museum job (by that I mean one that came with pay) was in Halifax, West Yorkshire and sometimes meant trips to closed down mills and factories to collect things for the collection. Oh those fabulous brick and stone buildings, once the economic heart of each town, redolent of machinery and thread and specialty goods manufacture.
The town of Mytholmroyd (what a good name that is) housed Albert Mills, or the Moderna blanket factory, home of Thomas Ratcliffe & Co Ltd. They made blankets there from the 1870s. They continued to make blankets until the mid-1970s when they were bought out and closed within days, leaving hundreds of employees without jobs in a small community. So, they managed just over a century of superlative woollen bed coverage.
This booklet from the early 1930s represents Moderna marketing when they were at the top of their game. Promotional booklets were common direct marketing tools at this time but, it has to be said, more commonly associated with brands with their roots in and around London. Or more specifically, brands who used the cool dude advertising agencies based in London.
Davide C Minter, the author of this ‘specially written’ booklet, was Davide Caroline Minter – hiding her gender in an initial, as was often the case. She wrote and edited lots of sewing and household-y books from the 1920s through to the 1950s. Here she makes sensible and sometimes wry reading. ‘To-day (sic), a comfortable bed is within the means of everyone, from the highest to the lowest. Yet, not one bed in a thousand is properly made!’ and so follow in depth instructions for everything from Our Daily Bed (with and without hospital corners), Camp Beds (fake sleeping bags for children who like outdoor naps) and For the Overnight Visitor (folding over one large sheet to make less laundry). All accompanied by nice illustrations.
Of course we are also told the Moderna blanket is the one to make all these beds with: odourless, moth proof and it won’t shrink. And they were available in the following Modern Colourings: Rose, Saxe-blue, Nil-green, pink, sky-blue, Reseda (a grey green), fawn and gold. The back page carries the nice Moderna logo and the satisfying (and very 21st century) strap line: Blanket – Three Ways New.
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