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Class, Construction, and Conservation: An examination of the fate of the buildings mapped by Charles Booth in Deptford vs. Camberwell

Part 2 Dissertation 2019
Dearbhla Mulligan
Mackintosh School of Architecture | UK
Charles Booth’s ‘Descriptive Maps of London Poverty’ create a beguiling portrait of how social conditions converged with spatial conditions at the end of the 19th Century, which was a political and cultural tipping point in the city’s history. Over a century later, London has undergone huge physical change, yet housing poverty still exists as one of the most extreme forms of inequality in society. In this essay I examine the political, architectural and social factors which have led to different patterns of housing development for different social classes since the time of Booth. My research focuses on two key locations: Deptford and Camberwell. Firstly, I examine which buildings from Booth’s maps of London still stand and then I compare the efforts made to conserve or to demolish buildings occupied by Booth’s different classes. Key issues which I explore in my analysis are political representation and agency, utopian housing visions, the conservation movement as a response to this, and the links between gentrification and restoration. I explore the class division and diversity associated with each of these topics in order to reach my conclusion.

Dearbhla Mulligan

Florian Urban
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