The Making of the Modern British Home The Suburban Semi and Family Life between the Wars

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/1/2014
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The Making of the Modern British Home explores the impact of the modern suburban semi-detached house on British family life during the 1920s and 1930s - focusing primarily 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 recognisably `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 volume 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, lay-outs, and architectural features; marketing owner-occupation and consumer durables to a mass market; 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'. Peter Scott 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 working-class urban communities.

Author Biography

Peter Scott is Professor of International Business History at the University of Reading's Henley Business School. He has written extensively on the history of household consumption, retailing, consumer marketing, housing, and consumer durables during the 1920s and 1930s. His last book, Triumph of the South: A Regional Economic History of Britain During the Early Twentieth Century, was awarded the Wadsworth Prize for the best book in British business history published during 2007.

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