Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Country House Kitchen

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum is offering a series of day courses aimed at staff and volunteers working in historic houses, museums and other heritage attractions. The first in the series, Communication skills for heritage interpreters, will take place on Thursday 6th October – read more here.

A two day course in July 2012 will examine life below stairs in the large households of the 16th to 20th centuries. The Country House Kitchen course will be taught by food historian and historic house consultant Peter Brears.

Day One:
A look at the 16th & 17th centuries, including

  • sources of information available including plans, household ordinances and inventories
  • the study of household management at Hampton Court
  • the study of preparing and presenting food, the role of food in emphasising status and table manners
  • a site visit to Cowdray House ruins.

Day Two:
Looking at the 18th to 20th centuries including:

  • the increasing complexity of the organisation of the household staff
  • the development of the Country House Plan, including the function of each room, male and female departments and the analysis of plans for surviving buildings
  • the developments in water supplies, bakehouses, kitchen ranges, ovens etc
  • the changes in preparation and presentation of food, the use of still houses and dairies, and methods of serving food
  • A site visit to parts of Petworth House.

Dates and costs for the course will be announced early next year, click here to make a booking request.

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Filed under CPD opportunity, Study visits, Workshop

25 years of wallpaper

Past, present and future: 25 years of wallpaper

V&A, in collaboration with the Wallpaper History Society

Saturday 29 October 2011, 10.30-17.30pm, £45/£35 concs./£10 students

Join experts to hear more about how wallpaper has been revitalised by contemporary designers, from domestic interiors to art installations.

This Study Day, which marks the 25th anniversary of The Wallpaper History Society, features a mix of speakers from a wide range of disciplines. It looks at the changes in the ways that wallcoverings have been produced, exhibited, marketed, and conserved in the last 25 years and, in doing so, provides a visual feast for anyone interested in wallpaper in all its manifestations.

Speakers are:

  • Joanna Banham (V&A)
  • Christine Woods (Whitworth Art Gallery)
  • Trevor Keeble (Kingston University)
  • Mary Schoeser (Central St Martins)
  • Andrew Bush (National Trust)
  • Gill Saunders (V&A)
  • Michelle Ledward (Graham & Brown)
  • Paul Simmons (Timorous Beasties)

To book, call the V&A Bookings Office on +44 (0)20 7942 2211. Or visit to book online (a handling charge applies).

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Filed under CPD opportunity, Talk/Lecture

Connect to SSN members through Collections Link Group

Collections Trust has recently relaunched the Collections Link website, the online community for those working with Collections in museums, libraries and archives. If you are familiar with some of the previous incarnations, I would encourage you to have a look at this new site – and if you are new to Collections Link, do sign up (this is simple and free to do).

We′ve created a Histories of Home SSN Group on Collections Link, which anyone with an interest in collections related to domestic interiors and home-making is very welcome to join (and have a look at other SSNs under the Collaborate/Groups/Specialist Network tabs). This is a great way to connect directly to other SSN members and the wider museum sector through wall posts, discussions and group announcements (and collect some Karma points in the process). Group members can also upload and share files, images and videos, and integrate personal/institutional Twitter feeds into their personal profiles. There is also an advanced search functionality which enables people searches by field of expertise – this is in an initial stage of development by Collections Trust but has the potential to be an extremely useful tool.

If you have any questions about creating a profile or using the site, please do get in touch. I look forward to some lively SSN exchanges!

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Filed under Knowledge Exchange, SSN News

At home in the institution seminar

At home in the institution: Accommodating inmates in schools, asylums and lodging houses in London and South East England 1845-1914

Wednesday 16 November 2011, 1-2pm

Room Q136, Queen′s Building, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London

At home in the institution explores the impact of design, decoration and furnishing of 19thC residential institutional spaces on the experiences of their inmantes. Foucault′s seminal analysis of the prison and asylum has inspired scholars to explore the role of architectural planning in discipline. This project, however, takes a new approach by assessing the role of institutional interiors in shaping the experiences of their inhabitants, and therefore considers spatial arrangements, furnishings and material and visual culture, in addition to the architectural features of the institution. The project focuses on three case studies: lunatic asylums (as they were known to contemporaries), schools for middle-class children, and common and charitable lodging houses.

Click here for the seminar flyer: At Home in the Institution seminar

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Filed under CPD opportunity, Talk/Lecture

Monthly seminar series on home-making and domestic practice

Home-making and domestic practice seminar series

Wednesdays from 5.30pm, Institute of Historical Research

A new monthly seminar series on Histories of Home will begin in October at the Institute of Historical Research on Wednesdays at 5.30.
The first seminar will begiven by Robyn Dowling (Macquarie University) on Wednesday 12 October on Practices of inhabitance in large houses: comfort, privacy and status in Sydney, Australia.
The second seminar in the series will take place on Wednesday 9 November – Trevor Keeble (Kingston University) will give a talk on Living in the past: Acquisition and display in late nineteenth century home-making.
Download the programme for the year: CSH seminar programme 2011, or visit the seminar webpage for more information.

For more information, please email or visit

Convenors: Alison Blunt (Queen Mary, University of London) and Eleanor John (The Geffrye Museum of the Home)
Co-convenors: Victor Buchli (UCL), Ayona Datta (LSE), Jane Hamlett (RHUL), Sara Pennell (Roehampton) and Paru Raman (SOAS)
Funding: We are grateful to The Geffrye Museum of the Home, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, SOAS, UCL and the IHR for supporting this series.

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Accommodating strangers?

Accommodating strangers? Home, Belonging and the Politics of (In)hospitality

Call for papers

Thursday 15 December 2011

Royal Holloway, University of London, Bedford Square, 2 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6DP

Once cast in the 1970s and 1980s as the epitome of individual freedom, a place liberated and isolated from fear and anxiety, the home has been re-conceptualised by social scientists as a deeply political space where the personal relations it plays host to transect public worlds. With ideas of the domestic applicable across scales from the house, neighbourhood, city to nation, this workshop explores home as the meeting place and metaphorical gateway of ‘guest’ /‘host’ interactions in the modern world. The interdisciplinary event hones in on domestic practices of (in)hospitality that shape, and are shaped by, contemporary (geo)-political processes of, amongst others, conflict, asylum and mobility.

Call for papers:
Abstracts of 150 words are welcomed from scholars of PhD level and higher, although it should be noted that due to the nature of the event, there will only be a limited number of presentation sessions.
Contact: To express interest in the workshop/series or submit an abstract contact: Katherine Brickell (

Closing date: Friday, 14 October 2011.

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Filed under Call for Papers, Workshop