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Elizabeth Denby, housing consultant: social reform and cultural politics in the inter-war period

Darling, EA; (1999) Elizabeth Denby, housing consultant: social reform and cultural politics in the inter-war period. Doctoral thesis (PhD), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis offers an account and interpretation of the work and life of the housing consultant Elizabeth Denby (1894-1965). The main focus of the thesis is on Denby's life between 1894 and 1939. In Part One, her career is traced from 1894 to her work in the voluntary housing sector in north Kensington, London, between 1923 and 1933, the year she launched her career as a housing consultant. In Part Two, her work as a consultant is discussed through an examination of her work on three major housing projects: R.E.Sassoon House (1934); Kensal House (1937) and the All-Europe House (1936-1939) and associated projects including the series of New Homes for Old Exhibitions (1931-1936); the campaign for design reform and her book Europe Rehoused (1938). A short postscript discusses her career after 1939 and the conclusion considers her influence within the inter-war period and subsequently. As well as offering the first substantial historical account of a figure who played an important and influential part in inter-war debates about social housing and cultural politics, the thesis has two further aims. First, to show how Denby epitomises the way women had a significant influence over the creation of the built environment - especially social housing - for much of the twentieth century. Second, to locate the philosophy of social welfare she practised within the tradition of thought associated with the British Idealist movement and its influence on the work of the British voluntary social welfare sector. It is suggested that it was this sector -particularly its women members like Denby - which generated many of the most innovative ideas about social welfare during the inter-war years, concepts which would ultimately have considerable influence in the immediate post-war years.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: PhD
Title: Elizabeth Denby, housing consultant: social reform and cultural politics in the inter-war period
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066631
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