Remember how we used to watch … Funhouse?


It’s outraaaaaageous!
Fun house, a whole lot of fun, prizes to be won, It’s the real crazy show where anything goes. Fun house, it’s a quiz, it’s a race, a real wacky place, Use your body and your brain if you wanna play the game!

Anyone remember Fun House? The 80s TV show featuring the badly-coiffed Pat Sharp and those cheerleading twins Martina and Melanie? Grabbing tags for prizes, the Fun Kart Grand Prix and massive amounts of Gunge? No? Just us?

Pat Sharp, has become the latest celebrity to start pinning on Historypin, adding some of photos of his cult show to the ‘Remember How We Used To‘ project.

This is  your chance to reminisce over those that amazing hair or the studio in Glasgow any child born around 1980 would have given their etch-a-sketch to visit.

See Pat’s Channel here and visit ‘Remember how we used to ..‘ to add your own photos and memories.

Other famous pinners include HRH the Duke of Cambridge (aka Prince William), Martin Luther King III, Tony Robinson and Clare Balding.

Great community sessions in Swindon

We had another couple of great community sessions collecting photos, stories and memories for our Remember How We Used To project, this time in Swindon.

First up was npower HQ with staff sharing their personal and local history.

The highlight for many of our team was a lively debate over the location of a particular power plant in an old photo, which many expert minds in the room could shed some light on, showing how much interaction, debate and enjoyment can come from crowdsourcing information about content.

Next up was a session at Tregoze Primary School.

60 students from Year 5 and Year 6 pupils brought in photos of weddings, births and various celebrations ranging from the 1940s to today and told each other the stories behind them.

Claire Bowen, assistant principal at the school, said: “The children had to speak to their families and neighbours about the stories behind the photos. The children and teachers [then] spent the afternoon sharing memories of the past. They had photos of their grandparents and family celebrations from years ago. Some children brought pictures of when they were born in hospital with their mums and dads, which was really nice.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, also visited the school to take part in the workshop.

Miss Bowen said: “It is a whole different way of remembering the past. They had to talk to people about their photos and find out the stories behind them and then recount the story as they heard it. They were so enthusiastic about sharing their stories.”

Clare McDougall, head of community and education at npower, said: “By asking the children to speak to their families to learn more about how they grew up, we hope that their imaginations will be sparked and they’ll want to know more about life 60 years ago.”

To explore the archive and add contributions go to



Clare Balding shares family photos

Clare Balding, known for her love of sport, horses and THAT interview with Bert, recently named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK and universally accepted as Queen of the Olympic coverage, has become the latest celebrity to start pinning on Historypin.

She has recently added some of her family photos to the ‘Remember How We Used To‘ project.

Take a flick through Clare’s photos and see that her enthusiasm for sport began early, playing football and cricket with her brother. A love of animals was clearly a family trait – she shows how her Dad even gave her Mum a horse for as a wedding present.

But our favourite is this one of Clare on her Shetland pony, Valkyrie – previously ridden by Prince Andrew and Prince Edward…

See Clare’s Channel here and visit ‘Remember how we used to …‘ to add your own photos and memories.

Clare joins other famous Historypinners including HRH the Duke of Cambridge (aka Prince William), Martin Luther King III and Tony Robinson.

Tony Robinson shares family photos

My dad Leslie is the one on the left. He was a fitter for Hurricanes and Spitfires in WWII. He and his team are holding gasmasks

Tony Robinson, (who many continue to call BaldricBlackadder’s sidekick through the centuries) has opened his family photo album as part of our project Remember How We Used To,  exploring how energy has transformed our lives.

Tony has pinned some lovely photos of his Mum in the 1930s and his Dad who repaired Spitfires and Hurricanes during World War Two. You can check out his Channel here.

But our favourite one has to be this of him popping out of a TV at the Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent!

Tony Robinson - taken at the Victoria Theatre Stoke on Trent 1967

You definitely couldn’t do that with a modern flat screen 3D HD TV! But you probably could with some of the first models of TVs, radios and other household devices which often resembled small houses.

To see how our favourite pieces of tech have evolved over the decades, take a look at our new interactive Inventions Timeline. From washing machines to the World Wide Web, explore when the devices were invented and became the common household items that we can’t live without.

Remembering how we used to … with Llanilltud Primary School

A few weeks ago the Historypin Team headed to Wales for a series of community workshops with schools and retirees as part of our latest project, ‘Remember how we used to’. We were joined by some super volunteers from npower and we visited pupils at Llanilltud Fawr Primary School in Llanwit Major to capture photos and stories about how our home and work lives had changed over the decades.

The Old Swan Inn, Llanwit Major, 1930s

Llanilltud pupils had been given the mission to speak to their parents and grandparents about what technology, devices and toys they had growing up. We started off with one pupil’s observation that of course the past was very different as colour had not been invented and everything was in black and white. Once that was clarified, we got stuck in talking about what the pupils had discovered.

1990s technology figured largely, with discussion about parents who had laptops and Motorola mobiles. As we delved deeper into the past we started to talk about things that were probably familiar to only some of the adults in the room. Declan’s parents had one of the earliest personal desktop computers on the market in the 1970s, the Radio Shack TRS-80 and Iona’s Dad received the handheld game Blip for his birthday in 1977. A far cry from the iPads that many pupils’ families now have.

As we turned to toys, we established that in the old days not only did they not have Playstation 3, they didn’t even have Playstation 2! The kids had lots of fun discussing their parents’ toys – one Dad had a Big Trak as a boy, and another had an electric racing car with a hand held controller.

Many students had also brought in their own photos photographs and you can see the stories shared on Llanilltud Fawr Primary School’s Channel. Lily had delved particularly deep into the past, bringing in photos of herself and her Mum, Nana, Great-Grandmother and Great-Great Grandmother!

As talk turned to Grandparents, Caitland told us an amazing story about her Grandfather who fought in Second World War and whose life was saved by a silver coin in his pocket which deflected a bullet. Her nanny still has the coin. Declan’s great-great grandfather had an electric car, whilst Lily told us how the silk bridesmaid’s dresses seen in her family photos from the 1990s would have been very unusual during World War Two because silk was very rare as it was used for parachutes.

So, from fashion to computers there was plenty of discussion about how things had changed over the years and everybody involved had a great time – whether it was volunteers’ nostalgia about 1970s gadgets or the kids finding out about the toys their parents played with.

Storytelling and mince pies

Mr. and Mrs. Buckel come prepared with a whole album of photo memories to share with our Exec. Director Nick Stanhope

Yesterday we hit the road and went to Didcot, Oxfordshire to gather stories and photos for ‘Remember how we used to’. We were guests at npower’s annual Christmas lunch for former employees, the perfect place to find stories and memories.

A former npower employee shares vintage photos and memories with us

Everyone was eager to share their memories with us, and came prepared with photos, old newspapers, brochures, and even paintings! With over 100 people there was endless  reminiscing about the good ol’ days and catching up with old friends.

Together with our super npower volunteers Sunita, Liz, Emma and Trisha, we had a really fun-filled afternoon collecting photos and stories. From miners’ strikes to family open days at the power station, from local coronation parties to proudly appearing in the npower newsletter, these garrulous retirees remembered how they used to work, play, celebrate and more.

Old friends catch up before Christmas lunch

We loved hearing these stories first-hand and as an added bonus we also got to share in a wonderful Christmas lunch, complete with Christmas crackers and mince pies. A lovely time indeed!

We will be adding the photos and stories we collected to ‘Remember How We Used To’ and blogging about the best of them, so watch this space. And over the coming months we’ll be holding more sessions like this with community groups  and schools around the country.

Visit the Didcot Retirees Channel to see the great photos and stories we collected.

If you have photos and stories to share about how we used to cook and clean, watch and listen, work, play, keep warm and celebrate, add them to the project here.

Some ‘Remember When’ Friday Favourites

This week, we launched our exciting new project ‘Remember When We Used To,’ an archive of memories showing how energy has transformed our lives. Below are just a few ‘Remember How’ memories that have been shared with us:


Card Catalog Inside the Covington Library, 1980.

Do you remember how we used to look for books with a card catalogue? This photo of a student inside the Covington Library in Kentucky, pinned by the Kenton County Public Library, demonstrates the concentration required to search for books manually before computers became common search tools. I especially like the fun detective drawing helping kids to find books by author and title.

Finding books used to be a more engaging process; the searching was certainly an event in itself. I remember our teacher taking us to our school library and showing us how to search for books in the card catalogue, and making up games to see who could search for the right book the fastest. There was also always that one trouble-maker in the class who would mix up all of the cards in the drawers, making it a nightmare for the poor librarian to reorganise.

With computers as commonplace search tools, studying in the library or browsing for books in a bookstore is now less about the work involved in searching and more about the varied results one can get in a short amount of time.

Do you remember those pesky card catalogues? Share your memories with us here!


Cambridge United vs. Burton Playoffs, May 2008.

User Richard Nurse recently shared his favourite celebratory moment, of a pitch-invasion moment at Abbey Stadium, Redditch, UK in 2008. Here he captures the moment after his team, Cambridge United, beat Burton Albion in the semi-finals to get to Wembley Stadium in the Conference Play-Off Finals. It’s a great shot that captures a cherished personal memory.

For my fellow sports fans out there, you will know that some of the best celebratory moments are the ones when your home team celebrates a crucial win; whether its a family football game or professional match, whether player or spectator, the pride in bringing home a victory is something that can stick with you for a long time.

Did your home team ever grab a win after trailing? Have you or someone you know score the winning point? Share them with us and let us know how you celebrated afterwards.


Saturday Night Fever, June 1978.

Now technically this photo is not of people playing, but I believe dancing can definitely fall under this category. User AndyT shared this great photo memory of a campus dance demo at the University of York in 1978. As with many universities today, York had a special day when people were encouraged to visit the campus. In June 1978 the attractions on offer included what AndyT describes as “very cool” students showing off the latest dance moves, seen here outside Central Hall. Anyone familiar with the disco dances of the 1970’s will know that the style above was best-demonstrated by this guy:

John Travolta on the Saturday Night Fever (1977) film poster.

Everyone wanted Travolta’s cool dance moves, so it’s no wonder young people all over the world took them up on their school campuses. My own university open-day didn’t feature disco, but there were many other ‘current’ styles on offer like hip-hop; changing dance-styles are a reflection of the times, and is also one of those things that can immediately trigger memories (some not so great) of how we used to ‘play.’

If you have some dance-filled university memories, or evidence of some now-dated moves, share them with us here.

We would love to see your personal memories of how we used to work, play, watch and listen, keep warm, celebrate. Visit the project page here.

Remember how we used to…

Daily Herald circulation department, 11th May 1935, shared by National Media Museum

Remember how we used to work, play, watch and listen, cook and clean, keep warm and celebrate?

We are excited to announce a brand new project that looks back at how energy has changed the way we do everything things over the last century and are looking for your contributions.

Almost everything we do, from making breakfast to going to work, is very different to how our grandparents did it.

In 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne, only one in five households had a washing machine, one in ten a telephone, one in twenty a fridge. Almost nobody had central heating. Fewer than half of all households had a television and less than one in five households had a car.

Children listening to talking books, 1953, shared by Mirrorpix

Over the last 60 years children have changed the way they play, workplaces have changed the way they look, and we have shifted our tastes in the music we listen to and the clothes we wear.

So if you’ve got a photo of your parents watching retro TVs, or your granddad working in an office for example, add it in!

Girls listening to the Ruffler and Walker jukebox, 1964, shared by Mirrorpix

The project was created in partnership npower and Mirrorpix and aims to collate over 5,000 photos, videos, audio clips and stories around this theme from across the UK by Spring 2013. To help do this we’ll be running workshops and memory bank sessions with a selection of schools, care homes and retired npower employees to gather old photos and memories.

Explore this archive of amazing photos and add yours here.