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The invasion of the duvet: the ’10-second bed’

Duvets are as commonplace now as mobile phones but it wasn’t always the case. They were initially regarded with suspicion and a Scandinavian invasion we could do without.

Although there were earlier attempts to introduce them it wasn’t until the mid 1970’s when the continental quilt, or duvet as it became known, really started to catch on in Britain.

Terence Conran, the founder of Habitat, is generally credited with bringing the duvet to the UK but at first they were regarded as a little too avant garde for UK tastes. The British were reluctant to give up their sheets and blankets and the new continental quilts were not cheap.

Sir Terence Conran

The Times featured a special offer for its readers in 1972 and admitted that the new continental quilts were quite expensive – a single was being sold at the equivalent of £252 in today’s money!

Despite the expense, housewives loved the idea that the bed could be made in just a couple of shakes. In fact, Habitat marketed them as the ’10-second bed’ which really did catch on.

The ’10-second’ bed

Initially selling more single duvets than doubles as they were seen as being good for children, Habitat gradually persuaded the great British public to accept these Scandinavian imports and they increasingly became adopted by practically everyone and sold practically everywhere.

It did, however, take some time to master the art of changing the duvet cover, there was even a hilarious episode of The Generation Game in the 1970’s where contestants tried to put a cover on a duvet and mostly failed!

Do you remember when you got your first duvet? Are you a fan or do you sleep under sheets and blankets?

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Melina - Assistant Editor

Hi I'm Melina, a mother of 3 teenage children and with a particular interest in all things health related. I run a busy household and smallholding alongside my work with Silversurfers, which currently includes dogs, fish, hens, ducks and pigs!

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