Country House Technology


technology in the country house publication

Technology in the Country House

By Marilyn Palmer and Ian West

This major book, published in September 2016 by Historic England in association with the National Trust, provides a comprehensive distillation of the findings of this project.

Learn more about this publication

This book and the project behind it featured in a ten-page article in the January 2017 issue of Current Archaeology.

Read what others have said about this book (PDF, 247kb)

country house publication

Country House Technology

By Paul Barnwell and Marilyn Palmer (eds)

Proceedings of the conference held at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, May 2010 (see Past events for more details of this conference), published as part of the Rewley House Studies series by Shaun Tyas, October 2012

Some other publications


Relatively few recent publications cover this subject in detail, but useful information can be found in contemporary text books etc., many of which have been re-published in facsimile or are available on-line.

General (Architecture, Technology and Planning)

  • Aslet, Clive (2012). The Edwardian Country House: a social and architectural history. (Revised edition of The Last Country Houses, published 1982.) London, Francis Lincoln.
  • Bannister, Flight Fletcher and Herbert Phillips Fletcher (1910). The English Home. London, Methuen.
  • Barnwell, Paul and Marilyn Palmer (eds.) (2012). Country House Technology. (Proceedings of the conference hosted by Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, May 2010.) Donington, Lincolnshire, Shaun Tyas.
  • Billington, N S and B M Roberts (1982) Building Services Engineering: a review of its development. Oxford: Pergamon Press
  • Carson, Charles (2009). Technology and the Big House in Ireland c1800-c1930. Amherst, Cambria Press.
  • Franklin, Jill (1981). The Gentleman's Country House and its Plan 1835-1914. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Gammack, Helene (2012). Kitchen Garden Estate. London, National Trust
  • Girouard, Mark (1978). Life in the English Country House: a social and architectural history. New Haven, Yale University Press.
  • Hardyment, Christina (1992). Home Comfort: a history of domestic arrangements. London, Viking, in association with the National Trust.
  • Hiskey, Christine (2007). "Palladian and Practical: country house technology at Holkham Hall." Construction History 22: 3-25.
  • Kerr, R. (1871). The Gentleman's House, or How to plan English residences, from the parsonage to the palace. London, Murray.
  • Loudon, John Claudius (1846). Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture (2 volumes). London, Longman, Brown, Green and Longman; reprinted 2010 by Donhead Publishing, Shaftesbury.
  • Palmer, M. (2000). Comfort and Convenience in the English Country House, in The Edwardian Great House. M. Airs (ed). Oxford, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, 19-28.
  • Palmer, Marilyn (2005). "The Country House: technology and society." Industrial Archaeology Review XXVII(1): 96-102.
  • Palmer, Marilyn and Ian West (c2016). Technology in the Country House. Swindon: English Heritage in association with The National Trust
  • Robinson, John Martin (2011). Felling the Ancient Oaks. London, Arum Press.
  • Stevenson, J. J. (1880). House Architecture. London, Macmillan.
  • Tinniswood, Adrian (2016). The Long Weekend. London, Vintage.
  • Weaver, Lawrence, Ed. (1911). The House and its Equipment. London, Country Life.
  • Wilson, Richard and Alan Mackley (2000). Creating Paradise: the building of the English country house 1660-1880. London, Hambledon and London.
  • Worsley, Giles (2004). The British Stable. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Country House Servants

  • Cooper, Lady Diana (1958)The Rainbow Comes and Goes. London, Hart Davis
  • Evans, Sian (2011) Life Below Stairs: the Victorian and Edwardian Country House. Swindon, National Trust.
  • Fielding, Daphne Vivian (1951) Before the Sunset Fades, recalled by the Marchioness of Bath / decorated by Cecil Beaton. Longleat Estate Co.
  • Harrison, Rosina (1976) Gentlemen’s Gentlemen: my Friends in Service, London, Arlington Books.
  • Hartup, Adeline (1980). Below Stairs in the Great Country Houses. London, Sidgwick and Jackson.
  • Hardyment, Christina (1988) From Mangle to Microwave: the mechanisation of household work. Cambridge Polity Press.
  • Musson, Jeremy (2009). Up and Down Stairs: the History of the Country House Servant, London, John Murray.
  • Randal-Phillips, R. (1920). The Servantless House. London, Country Life.
  • Sambrook, Pamela (2003). A Country House at Work: three centuries of Dunham Massey. London, The National Trust.
  • Sambrook, Pamela (2005). Keeping their Place: Domestic Service in the Country House 1700-1920. Stroud, Sutton Publishing.
  • Waterson, Merlin (1980). The Servants’ Hall. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.


  • Bowers, B. (1982). A History of Electric Lighting and Power. Stevenage, Peter Peregrinus Ltd.
  • Dillon, Maureen (2002). Artificial Sunshine: a social history of domestic lighting. London, The National Trust.
  • Leeds City Art Galleries and Jessica Rutherford (1992). Country House Lighting 1660-1890: Temple Newsam Country House Studies Number 4. Leeds, Leeds City Art Galleries.
  • Schivelbusch, Wolfgang (1988). Disenchanted Night - The Industrialisation of light in the Nineteenth Century. 2nd edn. Berkley, The University of California Press.

Cooking and food storage

  • Beamon, Sylvia P and Susan Roaf (1990). The Ice-Houses of Britain. London, Routledge.
  • Day, I (ed) (2009) Over a Red-Hot Stove; essays in early cooking technology. (Leeds Symposium on Food History ‘Food and Society’ Series). Totnes: Prospect Books.
  • Sambrook, Pamela and Peter Brears (2010). The Country House Kitchen 1650-1900. 2nd edn Stroud, The History Press.

Water supply and sanitation

  • Bailey-Denton, Eardley F (1882). Handbook of House Sanitation. London, E & F N Spon.
  • Bashore, H. B. (1905). The Sanitation of a Country House. New York, Wiley and Sons.
  • Davis, George B (1899). A Complete and Practical Treatise upon Plumbing and Sanitation etc. London and New York, E and F N Spon.
  • Eveleigh, David J (2002). Bogs, Baths and Basins: the story of domestic sanitation. Stroud, Sutton Publishing.
  • Hart Davis, A. (1997). Thunder, Flash and Thomas Crapper: an Encyclopaedia. London, Michael O'Mara books Ltd.
  • Latham, F. (1898). The Sanitation of Domestic Buildings, London, Sanitary Publishing Company.
  • Penner, B. (2014). Bathroom. London, Reaktion Books.
  • Reyburn, W. (1989). Flushed with Pride: the Story of Thomas Crapper. London, Pavilion Books Ltd.


  • Sambrook, Pamela (1983). Laundry Bygones. Oxford, Shire Publications.


  • Allsop, Frederick Charles (1889). Practical Electric Bell Fitting. London, E & F N Spon; reprinted 2009 by Bibliolife, Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Allsop, Frederick Charles (1892). Telephones, their Construction and Fitting. London, E & F N Spon; reprinted 2009 by Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish, Montana.
  • Baldwin, F G C (1925) The History of the Telephone in the United Kingdom. London: Chapman Hall
  • McGarry,Donal (1988), ‘Historic Communications Systems for Buildings, 1750 - 1910’, unpublished Dip. Arch thesis, The Architectural Association School of Architecture, Building Conservation course.

Heating and ventilation

  • Bernan, W. (1845). (pseudonym of R S Meikleham) On the History and Art of Warming and Ventilating Rooms and Buildings... (2 Volumes). London, George Bell
  • Billington, N. S. and B. M. Roberts (1982). Building Services Engineering: a review of its development. Oxford, Pergamon Press.
  • Eassie, W. (1872). Healthy Houses: a handbook. London, Simpkins, Marshall & Co.
  • English Heritage (2008). Historic Building Systems and Equipment: heating and ventilation. London, English Heritage.

Back to top