Descriptions and reconstructions of houses can illuminate other histories and provide a sense of the relationships between people and places. Edwardian architecture in particular provides a fascinating commentary on broader historical themes – not only in its use of style and its remodelling of old buildings but also in the range of new activities it provided for, from ‘servantless’ country and seaside cottages to motor houses, gardens and hobbies rooms.
Looking at the furnishing and operation of these houses enables lost spaces to be re-established in the mind, and offers insights into the tools and methodologies of historians.
Dr Brittain-Catlin is a Reader in Architecture at the University of Kent. He specialises in early nineteenth-century and early twentieth English architecture, and writes about new ways of interpreting British architectural history.
Timothy is deputy chairman of the 20th Century Society, and a member of the Southern Buildings Committee of the Victorian Society.