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Title: New and novel homes : women writing London's housing, 1880-1918
Author: Robertson, Lisa C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 6004
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates the relationship between women's writing and domestic architecture in London during the four decades around the turn of the twentieth century. It foregrounds novels written by women in order to investigate the ways in which this literature grapples with new forms of urban housing that emerged in order to accommodate economic, political and cultural changes in the city. This period of study is roughly framed by the Married Women's Property Act of 1882, legislation that allowed women to exist legally outside the family structure, and the end of WWI, which initiated a movement towards suburbanisation that was intended to alleviate the necessity of housing the city's labour forces locally. While scholarship to date has been attentive to the ways that women have been denied participation in the production of urban environments – through professional exclusion and social marginalisation – this thesis argues that their creative engagement with the city should be understood as an important contribution to its growth and development, imaginatively and materially. Central to this thesis is a consideration of the ways in which changing gender ideologies initiated new patterns for domestic architecture, but were also responses to the new social relationships that took shape as a result of their construction. It looks closely at women's literary engagement with domestic architecture in order to gain insight into the ways that the representative spaces of these texts interact with the city's built environment. In Chapter 1, I begin with an examination of the ways in which women's fiction engages with the political and legislative developments that initiated slum clearance and city improvement projects, and which led to the construction of model dwellings and early local authority housing. In Chapter 2, I trace the origins of purpose-built housing for women, or 'ladies' chambers', and consider its treatment in contemporaneous novels and journalism. In Chapter 3, I examine the ways in which the settlement movement challenged conventional notions of home and labour by studying its representation in two novels that construct these concerns within discussions of sexuality. I conclude this thesis with an investigation of the development of Hampstead Garden Suburb, and of the ways its design and representation sought to redress the social and political uncertainties that emerged in late nineteenth-century London and its literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature