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The making of the British home: the suburban semi and family life between the wars

Scott, P. ORCID: (2013) The making of the British home: the suburban semi and family life between the wars. Oxford University Press, pp270. ISBN 9780199677207

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677207.001.0001


This book explores the impacts of the modern suburban semi-detached house on British family life during the 1920s and 1930s—focusing primarily (though not exclusively) on working-class households who moved from cramped inner-urban accommodation to new suburban council or owner-occupied housing estates. Migration to suburbia is shown to have initiated a dramatic transformation in lifestyles—from a ‘traditional’ working-class mode of living, based around long-established tightly knit urban communities, to a recognizably ‘modern’ mode, centred around the home, the nuclear family, and building a better future for the next generation. This process had far-reaching impacts on family life, entailing a change in household priorities to meet the higher costs of suburban living, which in turn impacted on many aspects of household behaviour, including family size. This book also constitutes a general history of the development of both owner-occupied and municipal suburban housing estates in interwar Britain, including the evolution of housing policy; the housing development process; housing and estate design, layouts, and architectural features; marketing owner occupation and consumer durables to a mass public; furnishing the new suburban home; making ends meet; suburban gardens; social filtering and conflict on the new estates; and problems of mis-selling and ‘jerry-building’. It thus integrates the social history of the interwar suburbs with their economic, business, marketing, and architectural/planning histories, demonstrating how these elements interacted to produce a new model of working-class lifestyles and ‘respectability’ which marked a fundamental break with pre-1914 urban communities.

Item Type:Book
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:95505
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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