Evans and Doyle's The 1940s Home is an excellent and well-researched introduction to domestic architecture and design from two experts in the field of twentieth-century British social history. Note that it is a book on the home, and as such covers not just buildings, but also furniture, textiles and wallpaper, and domestic appliances. An unexpectedly rich period for study of this range of material, the decade embraced, in building, the existing housing stock, air-raid shelters, the range of prefabs available from 1944, and the new house and flat designs quickly constructed after the end of the War; and in internal design, Ercol, Utility Furniture, and designs by Race, Spence and Heal. Many of these are instantly recognisable - such as the Boomerang table by Liberty's, the Bush bakelite DAC90 radio, and the Murphy baffle radio.
The information is detailed and extensive - prefabs, as can still be seen, lasted much longer than expected: all had a refrigerator from the start, and some were assembled on site by German and Italian prisoners of war, but they cost not much less than permanent homes. The range of building quickly put up after 1945 included blocks of flats which stand side by side with the best in twentieth century architecture - Churchill Gardens, Pimlico, for example - while other developments were not much different from Victorian tenement buildings. The authors point out the compromise between the need to supply housing with limited supply of building materials for a populace which expressed a preference for individual houses. This led to a continuation of the curious British pattern for blocks of flats which were in effect piles of streets of independent dwellings each with an outside entry, rather than the continental pattern of dwellings coming off a central core, with janitors and a formal entry point (which was already in use for mansion blocks).
So, a fine book, with a wealth of excellent photographs, showing how the 1940s, far from being a drab decade of austerity and shortages, displayed ingenuity and vitality in design and architecture.
Most of my collection on this subject are enormous compendiums and a chore to store as bookcases are full. This is super. Concise, easy to read, easy to hold, and because I am getting on a bit (born during the war) exactly what I need.
If you want to know what everyday Deco was like, between the wars style, normal household items, this book is perfect. No the usual glossy tome, but a really good research item. I've been making miniatures in this 1930's style, and this book has been an invaluable resource thoughout my project.