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Title: The development of the Lewis house in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular emphasis on the Bragar township
Author: Mackie, Catriona
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis seeks to investigate the extent to which social and cultural change effected and affected housing change in the Isle of Lewis throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing particularly on the Bragar township on the West Side of Lewis. The thesis examines the theory that houses are social constructs, and are therefore influenced more by the culture and society in which they are built, than by the surrounding environment. The thesis also looks at the causes and the process of change in material culture, and identifies four areas in which change manifests in vernacular housing: the Fabric of the house (the walls, the roof, and the floor), the Features of the house (the hearth, the windows, and the doors), the Furnishings of the house (including furniture and decoration), and the function of the house (comprising housing layout and use of space). It also discusses continuity and examines the difference between historical continuity (or the simple perpetuation of tradition), and conscious continuity (i.e. continuity as a conscious decision not to change). Forty houses in the Bragar township were examined and measured to produce plans at a scale of 1:250. Using map evidence, five time periods, or phases, were identified, from Phase 1 (the pre-lotting houses of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries) to Phase 5 (houses that were built post-1895). By examining the plans chronologically this thesis identifies changes in size and layout over the period in which these houses were built. Other changes discussed in the thesis include the introduction of partitions, the movement of the hearth from the centre of the room to a partition or a gable wall, and the introduction of windows, timber furniture and decoration. The thesis then examines, chronologically, developments in the Lewis house, and the corresponding developments in society and culture, throughout the period in question, examining any correlations between housing change and socio-cultural change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available