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From Servants to Staff: The Making of a Modern Estate, Chatsworth 1908-1950

Clapperton, Fiona (2019) From Servants to Staff: The Making of a Modern Estate, Chatsworth 1908-1950. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Taking as its subject the estate of Chatsworth, in rural Derbyshire, this thesis addresses the question of how the history of the country estate can be understood, not from the perspective of a single social group, but in relation to the whole community who lived, worked and interacted within its boundaries. Structurally, the thesis is comprised of four thematically organised chapters. Each focuses upon a different subset of the estate community and draws upon different kinds of archival material. Each chapter also adopts a distinct methodological approach in response to the source material under scrutiny. In particular, the thesis pays attention to analytical tools developed within the field of historical pragmatics. I argue that this innovative, multi-methodological approach enables a holistic understanding of archival sources to emerge. The thesis finds that, while demographic mapping provides one level of insight, the information contained within letters and memoirs can be crucial for understanding the social norms and interpersonal relationships which made up the framework underpinning the estate community. In particular, it draws upon a variety of documents from the records of Chatsworth’s senior employees, who occupied an important mediatory role within the estate hierarchy. The records of these servants provide a unique insight into how estates such as Chatsworth functioned as social organisms. They offer access to the experiences of the lower-ranking individuals inhabiting the estate, which are unlikely to have been recorded elsewhere, whilst also providing a new vantage point from which to observe the social and professional obligations placed upon the estate’s upper-class landowners.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Domestic Servants; Country Houses; Country Estates; Domestic Workers; Private Secretaries; Governesses; Gardeners; Labourers; Land Agents; First World War; Second World War; Class; Gender; Demographics; Historical Pragmatics
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.798067
Depositing User: Fiona Clapperton
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2020 09:53
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2020 10:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25623

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