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The Life of the British Home: An Architectural History

ISBN: 978-0-470-68333-0
304 pages
April 2012
The Life of the British Home: An Architectural History (0470683333) cover image
Unlocking the history of the British home, this book reveals how its layout has evolved from the Stone Age to the present day, to cater for the very different needs and lifestyles of its occupants. From modest ancient dwellings and medieval merchants’ houses to imposing stately mansions and modern urban estates, the book explores the forces that have shaped our homes and examines the attitudes and innovations of each age.

The story begins with the earliest Neolithic houses, built by the first people to surrender a nomadic way of life and settle on the land. It moves on to the Iron Age, and continues via the period of Roman invasion and classical order, the medieval era, the ostentatious mansions erected in Tudor times to display the wealth and social standing of their owners, and the urban civility of the Georgian terraces. It then turns to the villas and high-rise apartments of the Victorian period and, lastly, the 20th century, when domestic architecture had to respond to industrialisation and unprecedented urbanisation.

Each chapter brings these ideas to life by focussing on buildings that are accessible and open to the public. Featured homes include: stone dwellings in the Orkneys; roundhouses at Butser Ancient Farm; the Roman villa at Bignor; Anglo-Saxon homes at West Stow; the great fortified manor of Stokesay Castle; the Tudor mansions of Cowdray and Burghley House; the Palladian splendour of Moor Park; and the grand Georgian terraces of London, Bath and Brighton; as well as more modest Victorian terraced houses and pioneering post-war housing projects.

  • Features specially commissioned colour photography by Edward Denison.
  • Includes new hand-drawn illustrations and plans by Guang Yu Ren.

Edward Denison is an author, photographer and independent consultant whose work concentrates on architecture and the built environment. He has worked independently for over 10 years with various international organisations on a wide range of projects, authored many books, and recently completed a funded PhD in Architectural History at The Bartlett, UCL.

Guang Yu Ren is an architect, researcher and independent consultant with over a decade of experience in work for international organisations in places as diverse as China, Africa and Europe.

Edward Denison and Guang Yu Ren’s previous publications include: McMorran & Whitby (RIBA Publishing, 2009), Modernism in China (John Wiley & Sons, 2008); Building Shanghai (John Wiley & Sons, 2006); and Asmara – Africa’s Secret Modernist City (Merrell, 2003).

Featured Houses

The many publicly accessible sites and homes featured in the book include: Aston Hall; Audley End; the Georgian terraces of Bath and Bristol; Bignor Roman Villa; Burghley House; Cowdray; Gainsborough Old Hall; Lutyens’s Goddards; Herstmonceux Castle; Layer Marney; Moor Park; Old Soar Manor; Penshurst Place; Skara Brae; Stokesay Castle; Strangers’ Hall; numerous medieval homes at the Weald and Downland Museum; the Anglo-Saxon Village at West Stow; Winchester Great Hall; and Wollaton Hall.

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Acknowledgements

Introduction

1 Sticks and Stones – The Ancient Abode from the Stone Age to Roman Invasion

2 Roman Homes and the Newfangled Rectangle – Roman Britain ad 43–410

3 Wooden Walls and Fledgling Halls – Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain c ad 410–1066

4 The Hearth and Hall – Medieval Britain 1066–1485

5 Architecture and Avarice – The Tudors and Early Stuarts 1485–1649

6 The Compact Commodity – Civil War and Four Georges 1649–c 1830

7 Home Sweet Home? –The Industrial Age c 1830–1900

8 The ‘Modern’ Home – The 20th Century and Beyond

Bibliography

Index

Picture credits

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