Talk by Dr Caroline Withall: Middle class housing 1870-1914, with a focus on Kew and Chiswick

Mon 8 February 2021
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Duke Street Church

Caroline Withall, whose talk to us in November 2019 on the recruitment of boys as apprentices to merchant ships was very well received, will be returning to give another talk to the Society.

Dr Caroline Withall

The speaker

Dr Caroline Withall is a social and economic historian, primarily interested in 18th and 19th  century child labour. Originally from Liverpool, she has also always had a strong interest in maritime history.

She is a British Library Research Affiliate and a former Caird Research Fellow at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The topic

Architecture during this period 1870 to 1914 was extremely diverse, with a variance of styles such as Gothic, Italianate, English Arts and Crafts and Grand Baroque, as architects experimented in their search for a true English style.  Architectural studies have tended to focus on public buildings and grand country houses of this period.  However, in recent years attention has turned towards examining the domestic architecture of the homes of the majority of the population.

This was a boom time for house building, not least evidenced by the fact that so many of the homes constructed in this period are still providing shelter today.  The number of houses built increased from approximately 3.5 million in 1850 to 7.5 million by 1911. The home was central to family life and a statement about ones position in society; as such, many ordinary homes are surprisingly rich in architectural detail upon closer inspection.

This talk will examine the key factors influencing the design of these homes, principally the speculative builder, landowners and Local Government Boards in the constructional aspects, and the example set by the upper-class regarding matters of style and etiquette, and will reference Kew and Chiswick for examples.