A Waste of Space? Controversies Surrounding the Working-Class Parlour in Inter-War Britain

Cowman, Krista (2019) A Waste of Space? Controversies Surrounding the Working-Class Parlour in Inter-War Britain. Home Cultures . ISSN 1740-6315

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A Waste of Space? Controversies Surrounding the Working-Class Parlour in Inter-War Britain
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Abstract

This article uncovers the fierce inter-war debate provoked by the British Government’s decision to remove state subsidies for building larger “parlour-type” houses in 1923. Examining the various defences that were put forward in support of the working-class parlour it argues that the parlour was seen as a key marker of respectability in working-class communities with the potential to shape the behaviours and outlook of its inhabitants. Drawing on a variety of contemporary and autobiographical sources it suggests that the occasional use of the parlour, a keystone of its opponents’ criticisms was precisely what gave most value to the room for its owners. Recent controversy over the bedroom tax in Britain suggests that “extra” space remains a contentious issue in subsidised homes today.

Keywords:parlour, home, respectability, working-class, interior, inter-war, state housing
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
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ID Code:35254
Deposited On:04 Mar 2019 09:55

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