Investigating existing evidencegathered in this field would suggest that to date insufficient attention has been given to the position of independent furnishing retailers in provincial locations involved in the selling and promotion of Scandinavian furnishings in the given period. This thesis will focus on a network of independent furnishing shops that existed throughout the UK whose directors were innovative retailers in the forefront of promoting modern furnishings and ‘good design’ in their localities.
A crucial source for this research will be the use of material fromoral history interviews with workers, customers and owners of relevant shops. This will be contextualised with archival records and contemporary local and national press coverage resulting in a rich body of evidential research from which overarching patternswill emerge.
Summaries on each of the shop histories and localities will beincorporated within the following chapters on the following themes:
The self-promotion of a Scandinavian identity in the UK. How individually the Nordic nations organised nationwide retail and cultural events to promote the sale of their goods. This will be examined within the context of challenging existing presumptions that there was primarily an overall Scandinavian identity promoted in this period, as opposed to thepro-active establishment of individual national identities of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
An international outlook. The retailers studiedall made frequent visits to Scandinavian on buying trips and international furniture trade shows. This will be examined inrelation to the British interpretation of Scandinavian national identity in relation to furnishings.
Tax and imports. The British and Scandinavian membership of the European Free Trade Association in this period will demonstrate how beneficial import tax incentives assisted infuelling the promotion of Scandinavian furnishings.
Promoting ‘good design’. Analysing the role ofthe retailers as promoters of ‘good design’ in their localities,with their participation with Council of Industrial Design initiatives.
Modern premises for modern furnishings. Creating modern shop premises to display and promote their furnishings was a major concern for independent retailers. Shop premises underwent continual rebuilding and improvements in the period under consideration. This was part of the creation of an overall modern identity for each shop, and necessary in promoting themselves as retailers of ‘good design’. Investigating how their modern aspirations fitted their identities as often long established traditional furnishers.