A couple abandons modern life to live in the 1930s


A couple has ditched modern life to live like it was in the 1930s, including their clothes, car, furniture and appliances – even using a mangle and gramophone. Lisa and Neil Fletcher have transformed their lifestyle and their home into a pre-war British era – from their floor to the doorknobs.

They only watch black and white movies and TV, have vintage light switches and a 1930s refrigerator, lawn mower, vacuum cleaner and car. The couple try to pay cash only and to use a landline – not a cell phone.

Lisa, 58, dreamed of living an authentic 1930s lifestyle and convinced engineer Neil, 55, to come aboard after they married in 1991. They listen to music on gramophones and have full wardrobes of original 1930s fashion from vintage shops and garage sales.

The authentic couple lived in three homes and moved into their current home six years ago, which they’ve since transformed into their 1930s haven. The home is complete with a fireplace, furniture and even kitchen appliances. original – including a Westinghouse enamel stove and refrigerator from 1935.

Housewife Lisa even prefers to do the washing by hand using a mangle. Not everyone they know fully understands their lifestyle, but they say they will never return to modern life.

Lisa, from Watchet, Somerset, said: “I was always interested in history as a child – I never liked shopping like other school girls, but I used to hang around a huge history book with me.After Neil and I got married, I bought a few art deco pieces for the house until he finally got on board and started buying those too.

“We decided to go for an upscale 20s and 30s style – for me it had to be full of glamour. I think people assume we’re like something out of Dickens’ England, sitting here by flickering candlelight – but that’s not how it is.

“But everything in our house has a story – if I woke up and everything was modern, I’d lock myself in a closet and not go out! When people see us on the street, they sometimes ask if we’re going to a wedding because of the way we dress.

“I think people see us as completely crazy, but I couldn’t imagine anything else.”

Lisa recounted how shortly after getting married, she broached the idea of ​​living out her 1930s dream with Neil – although at first he was unconvinced. When pitching the idea, Neil said he thought it would be “too art deco”.

Lisa decided to make a few additions to their home, but over time she noticed that Neil also started spotting some interesting items in the same style. Eventually, they agreed to go “fully 20s and 30s.”



Lisa and Neil Fletcher transformed their lifestyle and home into pre-war British times

The couple decorated their first home, a cottage, with as much original 1930s design as possible, but also embraced the lifestyle. Over time, all of their wardrobes were filled with original 1930s clothing to complement their vintage lifestyle.

Lisa said: “I never thought I’d find the clothes. I’ve always wanted to dress this way, but no one ever tells you where they get their clothes.

“Eventually I was notified by someone about a business and they basically provided me with my entire wardrobe. We also go to garage sales and charity shops a lot.

“I have a real soft spot for gloves – we joke that if I buy more I might be attending a coach’s party.”

Six years ago, the couple moved into their current home, a much more spacious three-bed house in Watchet. The property had been completely gutted by the previous owners, so they set about restoring it into a 1930s haven where they would live their dream.

Over the years, they have kept a close eye and managed to source original second-hand items from the era. The house’s original linoleum floor in the kitchen was found under the tile, and they have now restored the floor to its former glory.

Their 1930s renovation goes right down to the detail of the original baseboards, light switches, door handles and cabinets. The pair snagged an original 1929 Jackson gray enamel cooker for £250 second-hand, which is in perfect working order and used every day.

They also have a 1935 Westinghouse fridge that was bought on eBay – and one of the few of its kind still in use anywhere in the world.

Lisa said: “Buying everything used, everything comes with a story. Everything comes from somewhere.

“We bought this fridge when the owner told us ‘if you want it, you have to come tomorrow’, so we had to drop everything and rush to London that day to pick it up. We always end up in many many little adventures.”



Neil and Lisa Fletcher's house
Neil and Lisa Fletcher’s house

Their kitchen also features a full 1930s dinner service with original cutlery, glasses, tablecloths and crockery for their traditional Sunday meals. But their most prized possessions are their three gramophones, on which they listen to their 1930s music from vinyl records.

Lisa said one of the things that prompted them to move into a bigger house was because “we had so many records in our collection it made the ceiling tilt”.

She said: “I love my gramophone and I love my music. When I go into the kitchen and lay the tablecloth with all my tunes and then play our music, I think how beautiful everything is. “

They also have a smaller one that they pull out when packing a picnic basket to go on a picnic, in true 1930s style. But not only is their house all 1920s and 1930s – but their lifestyle also reflects the times.

Aside from a cell phone that Neil uses for work, they stick to a landline. They limit their use of online banking and cards to virtually zero in favor of traditional cash purchases.

They bought a small TV for £100, which they only plug in when they want to use it – but only to watch black and white shows and movies. While Neil is at work, Lisa stays home to cook and clean – and chooses to hand wash and dry with a traditional mangle rather than a washing machine and a clothes dryer.

Their lawnmower, their vacuum cleaner and their cars are also original and in tune with the times. Every week they have a traditional Sunday dinner sitting around the table – and it’s all homemade, with no processed food in sight.

Lisa said: “I cook everything from scratch and do all my baking. You’d be surprised how much food came out in the 1920s and 1930s, and everything we eat is from that time.

“We eat a lot of pies like cottage pie, which I guess is a bit old fashioned. Nothing modern like fajitas – never a tortilla made it into this house!”

The couple, who have no children, know they don’t fit the mold, but they are living the life that suits them.

Lisa said: “Sometimes we’ve walked into a showroom of modern homes, just out of curiosity. They must have thought we looked weird walking around with our hats and handbags on!

“But you see it looks so clean and neat and lovely and you realize it doesn’t say anything about you at all, there’s no identity. While everything in our house has a story , it comes from somewhere and has its own story.”

Lisa told how they get mixed reactions to their lifestyle – some people supporting it and others a little puzzled.

She said: “I hope people will accept what we’re doing and why – some are very complimentary but others have been very rude in the past. I think some people just think we’re barking mad!

“I don’t think our families really understand it, but we are not all the same and this may not be for everyone. They were however surprised by how beautiful our home was when they came to visit us. .”

Despite what everyone thinks, Lisa shared that they would never return to a modern lifestyle.

She said, “I love it and can never imagine anything else. If I woke up tomorrow and everything was modern, I’d probably lock myself in a closet and refuse to come out!”

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