University design historian reveals secrets of mattresses on BBC Two

deborah sugg ryan and Ruth Goodman

Deborah Sugg Ryan appeared on BBC2's Inside the Factory

  • 23 August 2019
  • 2 min read

A Portsmouth academic appeared on this week’s episode of BBC2’s Inside the Factory, exploring the manufacture of mattresses.

Deborah Sugg Ryan from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries brought her expertise as Professor of Design History to reveal the history of the mattress, from its humble origins as a makeshift bed of leaves, to the invention of the coil spring pocket in many of our homes today.

For the episode, Deborah met with the presenter Ruth Goodman at a unique Victorian townhouse once owned by Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne and his wife Marion. The home is decorated in the fashionable ‘aesthetic’ style of the period including wallpaper by William Morris.

Deborah said: “I am a great fan of BBC2’s Inside the Factory and was delighted to be asked to talk about the history of the mattress – an everyday object with a fascinating history that touches all of our lives.

We still talk about ‘hitting the sack’ or ‘hitting the hay’ – because mattresses were originally sacks stuffed with a filling of straw.

Deborah Sugg Ryan, Associate Dean and Professor of Design History

She added, “We still talk about ‘hitting the sack’ or ‘hitting the hay’ – because mattresses were originally sacks stuffed with a filling of straw.”

Deborah is also a consultant to, and has appeared as a presenter on, series 1 and 2 of BBC2’s A House Through Time – and is currently filming for the third series.

The episode on mattresses aired on Tuesday 20 August at 8pm, and is available to watch on iPlayer.

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close