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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!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Graffiti in Lounge

Came across this bit of graffiti (in pencil), which was drawn after the first phase of decoration. In looking at it again, it's likely to date after the second phase of decoration (but before the 3rd phase), as it overlies fragments of wallpaper (or lining paper) and abrasion marks that may represent attempts to remove wallpaper.

It reads (within the heart shape) "I love John". Outside, but overlapping, the heart (in brackets), the text appears to read "If he wasn't such a chauvinist"

If used to suggest male chauvinism (rather than other forms of chauvinism - and the use of this term in the context of expressing a male-female relationship perhaps makes this more likely), this may indicate a 1970s date for this text
(Mansbridge, Jane and Flaster, Katherine 2005 'Male Chauvinist, Feminist, Sexist, and Sexual Harrassment: Different Trajectories in Feminist Linguistic Innovation', American Speech 80: 3)

John was the name of one of the children born into this house during the early 30s. It's possible that he lived in this house as an adult (and that this text refers to him), but at this point, this is only conjecture. If this were to be the case, I have read about someone that I believe to be the man in question (now deceased) - he was truly admired and liked by many...

As an indicator of date, the 2nd phase wallpaper (a textured paper) stylistically dates to during or after the mid 30s (no surprise, considering the date of the house) - though it may even be as late as the 60s (the house was seemingly modified during or after the late 30s)
. The 3rd phase paper was a plain lining paper, with 'scrunched' paint effect - a decoration technique that became popular during and after the mid 80s

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