Dr Rebecca Preston

Personal profile

I am currently 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 Prof Julie-Marie Strange at The University of Manchester.

My research spans the history of urban and suburban development, including parks and gardens and different kinds of living space in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain, and I have a particular interest in the relationship of people to place.

I have an MA (RCA) in Design History from the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum, where my dissertation was on the design and culture of English suburban gardens between the wars. My doctorate, in the geography department at Royal Holloway, supervised by Professors David Gilbert and Denis Cosgrove, was a study of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century suburban garden and its role in the making of social identities.

I returned to Royal Holloway in 2010–12 as a research fellow in the history department to work on the ESRC-funded project, At Home in the Institution? Asylum, School and Lodging House Interiors in London and South-East England, 1845–1914, led by Dr Hamlett.

In 2015-16 I was a researcher on Dr Rosalind Crone’s AHRC Educating Criminals project at The Open University, working on a finding aid to archival sources for the English prison. Other recent projects include: the exhibition Homes of the Homeless in Victorian London (at the Geffrye Museum of the Home, curated with Jane Hamlett, Lesley Hoskins and the Geffrye curatorial team, 2015); a report for Historic England on the urban and suburban public house in Bristol (with Fiona Fisher, 2015); and (with Lesley Hoskins) a report for English Heritage on London’s Suburban Shopping Parades, 1880–1939 (The Suburbs Project, 5924, 2013).

Formerly I held post-doctoral posts at the AHRC Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior (Royal Holloway, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Royal College of Art), the Geffrye Museum, and the Centre for Suburban Studies, Kingston University.

I teach on the MA in Garden and Landscape History at the Institute of Historical Research.


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