Did you know that British Gas has been helping customers make informed decisions about energy usage since the Second World War? With over 900 gas showrooms across the country, customers could visit to pay their bills, buy gas appliances and even watch product demonstrations.

Mobile showrooms

There was urgent need for new permanent homes after the Second World War – complete with heating and cooking equipment – and the gas industry responded to this demand. Mobile vans from the local gas board would bring the showroom to the people, with Home Service Advisors on hand to demonstrate the benefits of gas ovens.

In the 1960s, showrooms were modernized and moved to prime high-street locations. The retail showrooms had specialist sales teams to demonstrate the new generation of stoves with timers and automatic ignition, as well as efficient gas heaters.

By this time, people used gas instead of coal-burning domestic fires to heat their living rooms. And by 1989, more than 70% of all gas customers had gas central heating.

Live demonstrations

The Home Service staff held popular cooking demonstrations for housewives and bachelors. Flamboyant TV chef Fanny Cradock even turned up to one demo in Lewisham with her husband.

The Home Service Advisors could also be booked to do home visits. Up until the early 1990s, the Home Service Advisors would visit customers’ homes to show them how to use their new gas appliance.

The staff would often prove that the ovens were working by baking a perfect Victoria sponge! One lucky Home Service staff member even got to visit the home of Dame Vera Lynn, who was known to be fond of cooking.

Training was no piece of cake

Trainee Home Service Advisors would often learn their trade in the showrooms, familiarising themselves with the services offered to the public. They’d have to quickly learn about the range of domestic gas appliances, as well as gas irons, water heaters, hall radiators and much more.

Always in high demand

Home Service Advisors were highly skilled and always in demand. If a customer was struggling to use a gas oven, they were able to modify the appliance, making it easier to use. During a home visit, they could even fit the oven with bigger knobs if a customer was finding it tricky to use.  Advisors were known for their outstanding customer care and service. They provide inspiration for us still today.

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