Creating a modern home: homeowners in post-war suburban Glasgow, 1945-1975

McFadden, Yvonne (2016) Creating a modern home: homeowners in post-war suburban Glasgow, 1945-1975. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines how married couples bought and created a modern home for their families in suburban Glasgow between 1945-1975. New homeowners were on the cusp of the middle-classes, buying in a climate of renters. As they progressed through the family lifecycle women’s return to work meant they became more comfortably ensconced within the middle-classes. Engaged with a process of homemaking through consumption and labour, couples transformed their houses into homes that reflected themselves and their social status.

The interior of the home was focused on as a site of social relations. Marriage in the suburbs was one of collaboration as each partner performed distinct gender roles. The idea of a shared home was investigated and the story of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ emerged from both testimony and contemporary literature. This thesis considers decision-making, labour and leisure to show the ways in which experiences of home were gendered. What emerged was that women’s work as everyday and mundane was overlooked and undervalued while husband’s extraordinary contributions in the form of DIY came to the fore. The impact of wider culture intruded upon the ‘private’ home as we see they ways in which the position of women in society influences their relationship to the home and their family. In the suburbs of post-war Glasgow women largely left the workforce to stay at home with their children. Mothers popped in and out of each other houses for tea and a blether, creating a homosocial network that was sociable and supportive unique to this time in their lives and to this historical context.

Daily life was negotiated within the walls of the modern home. The inter-war suburbs of Glasgow needed modernising to post-war standards of modern living. ‘Modern’ was both an aesthetic and an engagement with new technologies within the house. Both middle and working-class practices for room use were found through the keeping of a ‘good’ or best room and the determination of couples to eat in their small kitchenettes. As couples updated their kitchen, the fitted kitchen revealed contemporary notions of modern décor, as kitchens became bright yellow with blue Formica worktops. The modern home was the evolution of existing ideas of modern combined with new standards of living. As Glasgow homeowners constructed their modern home what became evident was that this was a shared process and as a couple they placed their children central to all aspects of their lives to create not only a modern home, but that this was first and foremost a family home

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Marriage, post-war, suburb, Glasgow, homeownership, middle class, social mobility, housework, part-time work, gender, labour, do-it-yourself, kitchens,
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Abrams, Professor Lynn and Moskowitz, Dr. Marina
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Yvonne McFadden
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7410
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2016 11:03
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 09:14

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