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TOPIC: Blackout Curtains

Blackout Curtains 11 Feb 2019 17:24 #1

  • Chalker
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Please post the photos attached and the comments as needed on the ARG site to see if we get any feedback. Carol got a comment on a forum that matched out sample sheer material very precisely.

Here's the rub, though. What was prescribed for civilian households was likely not what was used by the RAF. The curtains that we see in pre-war "permanent" RAF locations (like Guy Gibson's office) are medium blue material and relatively sheer curtains. Somewhat like a shade of RAF blue, and with just the restrained official bit of class one would expect.

Once the mass construction of thousands of "temporary" buildings at "temporary" airfields began, though, who knows what they used? Let's see if the ARG has any answers, or if they have a contact at the RAF museum in Hendon? Lastly, we can ask folks at other UK museums, but I fear that many of them will have just "hung what looked good" without any specific info. We are looking for material, and may have to resort to that as well, but I still want to know the facts.

Thanks!!
Can anybody help?

This is for our Goxhill Watch Tower, we (The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach VA, USA) is in the process of being outfitted, hence the question.

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Last edit: by netcompsys. Reason: photos inserted, etc

Blackout Curtains 11 Feb 2019 22:07 #2

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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) was established after the war which would likely date when the sample of cloth was provided. For a basic guide to the blackout WarTime Farm may be worth a look (I think all of the episodes are on You tube), although I think some of what is shown may not be that accurate. This is not really of much help I am afraid. I am hoping to be in Norfolk for the VIT in April and am looking forward to seeing the Goxhill Tower.

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Blackout Curtains 12 Feb 2019 10:49 #3

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Beleive it or not Leuchars was the only place I ever saw with "blackout" blinds, and they were only put in in 85. The impression Ive always had is that there never was an "official" blackout curtains or blinds it was a case of "make do and mend".

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Blackout Curtains 12 Feb 2019 12:06 #4

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canberra wrote: Beleive it or not Leuchars was the only place I ever saw with "blackout" blinds, and they were only put in in 85. The impression Ive always had is that there never was an "official" blackout curtains or blinds it was a case of "make do and mend".


Obviously because it is always so sunny in Fife.

I had a look in the newspaper archive yesterday, I found someone during WWII in court for stealing a pair of (blue) blackout curtain from an RAF station. Some adverts selling the material and curtains in several colours and even one firm that said they had sold thousands during the war. But no description of them.
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Blackout Curtains 12 Feb 2019 21:07 #5

  • Peter Kirk
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Blackout boards were used a lot and one even became famous for its signatures. As lighting tended to be lower wattage (lumens?) in homes and buildings I dare say material wasn't silvered like the modern stuff. Blackout boards and curtains were used after the war by shift workers, especially during the summer month, or so I was led to believe.

Unless curtains were supplied by the government I suspect most made use of available material.
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Blackout Curtains 12 Feb 2019 21:25 #6

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Speaking to a former WAAF today she told me that, as far as she could remember, "proper" blackout curtains of heavy material (linen she thinks) but not necessarily black in colour were available early in the war but as it went on there was a general lack of fabric for such things and many people then simply doubled-up whatever they had i.e. hung one set of ordinary curtains behind another to double the thickness. As she went on to explain, household curtains back then were generally heavier than the ones we have nowadays so two pairs back to back were pretty effective at blocking light.
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