How They Made Wallpaper in the 1960s

Wednesday January 03, 2018 Written by Amy

What do you get when you mix peacocks, woodblocks, a peppy little jazz number, and narration that sounds like your dad imitating a plummy-voiced Brit? This video about a wallpaper factory from British Pathé, that’s what. The voice over says it all (warning: abundant atrocious alliteration ahead!): “Behind pa’s painstaking plans for patching up the parlour is a complex and colourful world… a peaceful world.”

A world of swirling metallic paint and intricately carved filigree, where a talented printer could produce over 700 meters of paper in a single day. There were hazards though – by golly. The oh-so-velvety flocking used to create raised prints could get up your nose and make you “sneeze, sneeze, sneeze all the way home”.

Wallpaper is back in vogue, so it might be time for a feature wall. Perhaps a Swedish-sauna vibe, like the woodgrain print in the vid? But as the narrator warns, “Watch out for splinters!”