Search This Blog

Archaeology of domestic life in early 20th century Britain

The aim of this blog is to publish data on early 20th century buildings, whilst this is still accessible. Much material of interest to the historian is being destroyed through 'home improvements' and DIY, and objects are increasingly being divorced from their context through dispersal after the death of their owners. By creating an easily accessible contextual record of material culture, it is hoped that those interested in this period of history may have a resource through which the details of domestic life might be studied.

If you have any artefacts of interest, or make discoveries during the process of your own investigations that you would like to share, please contact me!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Building A Kitchen: fireplace - changing room use

The first detailed investigation was enabled through the removal of a gas fire and back boiler in the origianl kitchen area.

Removal of the modern wallpaper (recording throughout) enabled the sequence of changes to this room to be deduced. The plans indicate the original presence of a large apperture, which comparison with photograph and descriptions of comparable houses suggest might have been filled with a range cooker. This seems most likely, bearing in mind tht this room was labelled as 'kitchen' on the plans, although subsequent change of use is possible. However, as noted in the description of the property, this building was seemingly constructed for the brother of the builder, which may make rapid transformation of room use less likely.

This has so far revealed the following sequence:
1) large fire surround, probably (although at this stage, not certainly) associated with a large apperture, which may have contained a cooking range.
Initial wall cover was dark brown (primer?) paint, followed by mid-dark green paint, and then covered with textured wall paper and painted with mid buff paint (there is possibly an initial lighter buff paint colour over the paper; this may represent primer, or a primary paint phase). Woodwork initially painted with dark brown paint. Subsequently painted with dark green paint, although possibly during the following phase

2) large fireplace filled in and surround removed, with smaller fireplace created, and surround fitted.
(Wall paper may have been mostly removed, adhering to areas where effort had been made to prevent the edges from peeling, e.g around the fire surround and door frames, although this as likely belongs to a later 'modern' phase)
Walls painted with an ivory paint (possibly primer?), and then a high gloss light green-grey. Woodwork may have been painted with dark green at this time, although some areas were subsequently painted with a lighter green, of similar colour to the walls.

3) 'modern' (1990s) - secondary fireplace removed and filled in, with backboiler and gas fire fitted.
Walls papered with textured paper and painted white. Woodwork painted with white gloss, and then cream eggshell

The OS map demonstrates that by 1949, a lean-to had been constructed. Oral testimony (secondary) indicated that a lean-to was constructed for a scullery. It is suggested that this corresponds with a change in function noted in the 'kitchen'. The fireplace was filled in during phase 2, a gas or electric cooker placed in the 'scullery' which now essentially became a kitchen, enabled due to the lean-to, and the old kitchen became a living room. So it might be surmised that phase 2 belongs between 1930/33 - 1949. (The new wall colour corresponds to british paint standards available during this period. But it must be questioned, as the fireplace was no longer used for cooking, why use the high gloss typical of kitchen surfaces?!)

No comments:

Post a Comment