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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!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Building B: Hall

Hall, pre investigation (above)

Note the final phase of decoration on the walls - papered with textured paper, and painted white; the handrail has been stripped and varnished (note the stratification of varnish from the base of a tin above the paint on the stairs), the stair treads painted a light gloss colour (over a layer of cream paint, which itself lies over a dark gloss stain to the wood) and banisters painted with a white matt paint.

Note traces in paintwork showing the position of stair carpet holders:

Close investigation revealed slight traces of the oiginal dark paint on the woodwork (phase 1):

and phase 2 paint effect corresponding to a greenish glaze, found on woodwork across much of the house (with the exception of the Kitchen), as seen here on the back of the front door:

The paper on one wall has been removed, to reveal 2 earlier phases of decoration (NB: radiator - though a contemporaneous feature - is a modern addition, and would not be expected in this size of house at this time):

Phase 1: buff paint (above). The hall is in the process of renovation, hence the dark paintwork, reflecting the original (Phase 1) colour.
Phase 2: textured paper (above)

A numer of holes at the bottom of the stairs lay beneath the phase 2 paper, and suggest the location of a feature - perhaps a shelf, mirror, or hooks? (Although note the presence of what appear to be original brass coat hooks in Photo 4, above)

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