Dr Lesley Hoskins

Research interests

I am a research associate on the AHRC-funded project Pets and Family Life in England and Wales, 1837–1939, led by Dr Jane Hamlett at Royal Holloway and Professor Julie-Marie Strange at The University of Manchester.


With a background in design history (MA, Middlesex Polytechnic) and historical geography (MSc, Queen Mary University of London), I have worked for some time on the history of unexceptional British homes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For my PhD (Department of Geography, QMUL, 2011) I examined nineteenth-century domestic cultures in England and Wales through the lens of a series of household inventories. I am especially interested trying to understand how people lived their domestic lives by looking at their residential spaces and possessions. More recent work has broadened my interests to take in institutional as well as private residential environments. 


Projects to which I have lately contributed include: the AHRC-funded project Educating Criminals in Nineteenth-Century England, Department of History, The Open University, 2015-2016; Inheritance, Families and the Market in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Britain, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, 2014; Making Imperial Citizens: Thomas Barnardo and the preparation of children for migration in London’s East End, c. 1870–1920, School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London, 2013; and At Home in the Institution, an ESRC-funded project led by Dr Jane Hamlett, Department of History, Royal Holloway University of London, 2010-2012. 


Before becoming an academic researcher I worked in the museum sector as an archivist and curator in several collections relating to domestic interiors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I have contributed to a number of exhibitions, including: Homes of the Homeless in Victorian London, co-curated with Jane Hamlett and Rebecca Preston, Geffrye Museum, 2015; Choosing the Chintz, co-curated with Jane Hamlett, Geffrye Museum, 2008; How to live in a flat: modern living in the 1930s, Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, 2003; and Exploring interiors: domestic decoration 1900-1960, Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, 2000. A specialist topic is the history of wallpapers; I teach on this subject at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and have recently been researching the wallpapers at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire for the National Trust. With Rebecca Preston I produced a report for English Heritage on London’s Suburban Shopping Parades, 1880–1939 (The Suburbs Project, 5924, 2013).

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