Deborah Sugg Ryan Publishes New Book

The University of Portsmouth, Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, are proud to celebrate the upcoming release of Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan’s new book.

Ahead of her Inaugural Lecture on 28th March, Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan is publishing a book entitled, Ideal Homes 1918-39: Domestic design and suburban modernism, published by Manchester University Press, which will be available in all formats on 12th March 2018.

The book explores the aspirations and tastes of new suburban communities in interwar England for domestic architecture and design that was both modern and nostalgic in a period where home-ownership became the norm.

It investigates the ways in which new suburban class and gender identities were forged through the architecture, design and decoration of the home. Ultimately it argues that a specifically suburban modernism emerged, which looked backwards to the past whilst looking forward to the future.

Thus the inter-war ‘ideal’ home was both a retreat from the outside world and a site of change and experimentation. This book will appeal to academics and students in design, social and cultural history as well as a wider readership curious about interwar homes.

Manchester University Press have published an interview with Deborah, which you can read here.

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and Ebook format, you can pre-order from Manchester University Press, Amazon, and Waterstones.

Recently Deborah Sugg Ryan appeared on the BBC2 programme, A House Through Time, and also acted as consultant to the series.

A short abstract of Ideal Homes 1918-39: Domestic design and suburban modernism, can be found below, with a longer version available MODA website.

Making modern choices: Marks and Tilly Freedman 

The biggest opportunities for householders to be modern in the interwar years came with the purchase of a new house. Builders often allowed purchasers to choose their own fixtures and fittings. It was standard practice for house buyers to be given a budget for decoration (paint and wallpaper) and features such as fireplaces, usually to be spent at the builder’s nominated supplier and then installed as part of the purchase price.

The consumer possibilities offered in the purchase of a new home are vividly illustrated in the following story of a purchase of a semi-detached house at 1 Burleigh Gardens, Southgate in North London in 1934 from the builder, A.T. Rowley of Tottenham, by Marks and Tilly Freedman from Walworth in South East London.

The Freedmans’ new semi-detached house comprised two reception rooms, kitchen, scullery, hall and landing, three bedrooms, a WC and a bathroom. As the first house on its side of the road, it benefited from a large corner plot with gardens extending to the side as well as the front and about 100 feet to the back. Its interior space dimensions were relatively generous. The house had a red tiled roof and bay windows in both front reception room and master bedroom with hanging red titles between them. The façade was built of red brick and rendered on the first floor. Although not half-timbered, it gestured to a Queen Anne historic style. Seen in the broader context of the full range of designs on offer, this was quite a restrained and modern style.

Katie Clarke

Katie Clarke is a Media Studies Student, currently on her Placement Year, working as Promotions Assistant for the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, at the University of Portsmouth.

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