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SunnyRise And Shine!

As a wise man recently opined, "The trouble with the maximum security household confinement [aka long-lockdown] to which we have all been subjected for the past year is that it can get a tad dispiriting - especially if, as a once active commuter unused to being at home during the daylight hours, you are now forced to stay in with a complete stranger who occupies your sofa, watches your TV, speaks to you occasionally and insists that she is your wife of the past 35 years". [Spot on - we can all relate to that !? [Ed].]

So, if the general climate is somewhat gloomy at present and if you are coming to think that three more years of this is likely to wear you down more than a little, it's as well to be reminded of more optimistic times when the world seemed shinier and hope was not the terrible burden it has now become*.

* Please clear this with the RDC General Mood Monitoring Commission [RDC GMMC] and make sure there's no contravention of the "Suppressing Signs of Normality Directive" . We don't want a charge of Encouraging Public Optimism filed against us [Ed].

Here in Great Heaving we have found our spirits greatly uplifted [ditto - a dangerous admission [Ed]] by sifting through the archives and searching for now historic projects which once aimed to capture the spirit of optimism - the brave new world - which influenced the mindset of the mid-20th Century - a time when technological progress was the harbinger of economic optimism, and economic optimism the midwife of social progress.

Matching collar and cuffs: An ideal housewife in her ideal home - an image of modern domestic bliss developers were keen to promote to the already comfortably-off.

To take just one example: the proposed development of a new kind of urbanism by progressively-minded Threadbone Property Developers Ltd, which is to say: Project Sunnyrise! Very much of its time, this attempt to fuel social mobility by pandering to personal ambition [and feeding individual greed, envy and oneupmanship] fell victim to local authority red-tape aimed at keeping people in their allotted places - preferably without indoor toilets and with a privy / coal-shed at the back.

The project was based, says urban historian Meena Streets, on an essentially environmentalist conception of nature and nurture and the belief that the natural aspirations of the ordinary already-comfortable hard-working middle classes could be further energised by offering male breadwinners and their enamoured spouses the opportunity to acquire a home and buy into a lifestyle which would [a] keep their noses firmly to the grindstone and [b] lock them into a system of continued debt and permanent dissatisfaction whilst [c] offering them the tantalising prospect of an always bigger, better and more enviable home - provided, of course, they stuck to the rules, worked even harder and didn't shag the neighbours. Sunnyrise was the physical expression of that proposition - though with a certain air of Hollywood fantasy added in.

Archive poster for Sunnyrise! Its clean-cut Scandi-American style was the perfect antidote to the more cluttered,Dorset fashion of the time.

In the end what was to have been a 150 domicile project near Wogret, saw the pre-sale of only 4 homes including three for the project's directors. None was ever built.

Failure though Sunnyrise! might have been, it's hard looking at the pictures, the plans and the brilliant PR puff not to feel a certain sneaking admiration for its naive open-air optimism as well as a modicum of regret that its bold, if elitist, vision never quite made it off the drawing board.

If we have to be locked-down and imprisoned in our own homes, then better surely at Sunnyrise! than anywhere else.

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