Monthly Archives: March 2012

SSN Study visit to Leeds

Abstracts of papers presented at the SSN Study Visit to Leeds (Friday 23rd March 2012) are now available under our Resources section here.

Archivist Liza Giffen gave delegates an overview of the University of Leeds’ Designated Cookery Collection at the Brotherton Library. The Collection now comprises printed cookery books from the 15thC to 1975, with some manuscripts. A donation in 2011 has brought the Collection up to date with a large number of recent publications (awaiting cataloguing). The Collection gives insights into the close links between health and food, publishing history – particularly women writing in a professional capacity, trade links and circulation routes of ingredients among others. The introduction was followed by a handling session, and some of the treasures brought out for the group included the first edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and the pocket-sized Widowes Treasure from 1585. Librarian Nicola Feggetter gave a paper about Mrs Beeton, the brand.

Delegates looking at M&S Archive collections

Delegates during handling session at the new M&S Archive in Leeds, 23 March 2012









Company archivist Katharine Carter traced the history of the M&S Company Archive from its beginnings in 1982, with the opening of the new Archive facility in March 2012. The Archive contains material on “every aspect of the company as a working organisation” including

  • reports and corporate records
  • advertising material
  • photographs
  • oral history recordings (including oral histories from food & textile technology R&D staff)
  • garments
  • food packaging
  • World War II material

An online collections catalogue gives access to the 70,000 items in the Archive.

Delegates were then given a tour of the permanent exhibition, Marks in Time, and a chance to find out more about the design concepts of the exhibition. The day ended with PhD student Josie Freear discussing her own work with the M&S Archive, and the challenges of using such a rich collection.


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SSN event: Crime Scenes and Case Files – Sources for studying Domestic Interiors

Crime Scenes & Case Files – Sources for studying Domestic Interiors

Monday 2nd April, 10am-2pm

Geffrye Museum, London

Bookings are now open for the next SSN event,  which will take place on Monday 2nd April at the Geffrye Museum in London.

The seminar will look at crime scenes and material contained within criminal case files as sources for studying domestic interiors from the 18th – 20thC. These represent an underused and potentially rich source for researching domestic interiors of all social classes. Information in murder files where the crime was committed at home will often contain

  • plans and maps – sometimes with pieces and relative locations of furniture also sketched in
  • the full address of the crime scene
  • contextual information including rent; occupation of landlord and defendant; names, ages and relationships of others living within the property
  • crime scene photographs
  • witness statements – often describing objects and furnishings in relation to location and use within the property
  • psychological assessment and life history (including health & employment history) to determine whether defendant is of sound mind and fit to stand trial

Forensic photography itself is of 3 types: overviews of the entire property, mid-range shots of the room(s) where the crime took place and close-ups, and for researchers the first two categories will be of particular interest.

This seminar will introduce delegates to the wide range of material and sources available and will look at an examples where crime scene photos have been used to study changes in wallpaper design and taste.

Tickets: £10
To book please return the Crime Scenes Booking Form  by email, fax or post by Tuesday 27 March to SSN Co-ordinator Krisztina Lackoi at, Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA

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SSN Food Conference – abstracts available

Abstracts from the Fourth Annual Histories of Home Subject Specialist Network (SSN) Conference, What’s cooking? Food and eating at home (9/3/2012) have been uploaded under our Resources section here.

86 delegates attended the day at the Brunei Gallery in London, with a good mix of academics, PhD students at various stages of their research, artists, museum professionals, food historians, cooks and food policy officers. The event was organised in association with the Wellcome Library.


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Call for Papers: Domestic Methodologies conference

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Geffrye Museum, London

This one-day conference will focus on the distinctive sources and methods used to study home in both historical and contemporary contexts.  The conference is convened by the Centre for Studies of Home, a partnership between The Geffrye Museum of the Home and Queen Mary, University of London.  The theme of the conference reflects a wide range of interest across the humanities and social sciences in developing distinctive methodologies for studying home.

Abstracts of up to 200 words are invited that address particular sources and methods together with a reflection on the wider methodological issues involved in studying home.  Abstracts should address one or more of the following questions:

  • What is the methodological distinctiveness of studying home?
  • What are the challenges involved in identifying and analysing different sources about domestic life?
  • How and why have different methods been developed to study home across a range of time periods, places and contexts?
  • How can private and often hidden domestic subjects be made visible?
  • What are the ethical issues involved in researching home?
  • What are the risks involved in conducting research within the home, and how might these be overcome?

Please submit abstracts to Zoe Hudson at by 16 April 2012.

The programme will be confirmed by 1 May.

Booking fot this event is now open, please send in booking forms as soon as possible but by 31 May at the very latest.  CSH Domestic Methodologies booking form

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