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Title: Servants' passage : cultural identity in the architecture of service in British and American country houses, 1740-1890
Author: Keithan, Aimee
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 3005
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2020
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Country house domestic service is a ubiquitous phenomenon in eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain and America. Whilst shared architectural and social traditions between the two countries are widely accepted, distinctive cultural identity in servant architecture remains unexplored. This thesis proposes that previously unacknowledged cultural differences between British and American domestic service can be used to rewrite narratives and re-evaluate the significance of servant spaces. It uses the service architecture itself as primary source material, relying on buildings archaeology methodologies to read the physical structures in order to determine phasing. Archival sources are mined for evidence of individuals and household structure, which is then mapped onto the architecture, putting people into their spaces over time. Spatial analysis techniques are employed to reveal a more complex service story, in both British and American houses and within Anglo-American relations. Diverse spatial relationships, building types and circulation channels highlight formerly unrecognised service system variances stemming from unique cultural experiences in areas like race, gender and class. Acknowledging the more nuanced relationship between British and American domestic service restores the cultural identity of country house servants whose lives were not only shaped by, but who themselves helped shape the architecture they inhabited. Additionally, challenging accepted narratives by re-evaluating domestic service stories provides a solid foundation for a more inclusive country house heritage in both nations. This provides new factors on which to value modern use of servant spaces in historic house museums, expanding understanding of their relevance to modern society.
Supervisor: Giles, Kate Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available