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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!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Building A: parlour and hall - changes to house layout?

By looking at the cornice and doorframe (the architrave surrounds only the righthand side and top of the door), it appears that the hall of this property was a later addition, although was probably done quite soon after the construction of the house - it may even reflect rectification of a mistake made by the builder, or changes to the syle of house undertaken during construction. Beacuse...

...The cornice of the adjoining room is of the period. The unusual shape of the hallway: look at the door of the back room as it turns inwards at an angle:

And of the skirting at the outside corner of the room, and architraving around the arch, also give away this modification:

Floorboards also run through the hall and into the frontroom (parlour) - we would expect longitudinal boards or tiles in the hall (note also the floorboard stain in the parlour, and buff-coloured semi-grained stain of the hall):

It might be conjectured that this change perhaps indicates the desire to assert status by having a seperate parlour and hall, rather than entrance straight into this room, as commonly found within terraced houses in this area. However, it may as easily represent changes to layout by the builder during construction.

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