University of Leicester
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Historic building reconstruction since c1877 : the creation of popular images of the age of transition

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:42 authored by Elizabeth Stewart
This thesis aims to understand how have past practices in historic building reconstruction have evolved since the late nineteenth century. Alterations which aim to make buildings appear as they did at some time in their history have been termed reconstruction. Reconstruction can vary in scale from simple redecoration to the complete dismantling and rebuilding of a structure. This thesis traces the history of the reconstruction of historic buildings between the late nineteenth century and the present day. This topic is studied through the use of one hundred and fifteen example buildings, broadly dating from the period known as the Age of Transition, 1400-1600. Though analysis of the works undertaken at these buildings, patterns in the types of reconstruction carried out at different times have been identified. The buildings have been analysed and photographed, and archival resources have been utilised to identify when and for what purposes different works were undertaken on them. The thesis has been structured to analyse building reconstruction in relation to some potentially influential factors. The impacts of changing philosophies, different institutions, organisations or individuals, the wider conservation movements, interest in authenticity and the notion of Englishness, have all been considered. This historical overview is then used to suggest ways in which future building reconstruction could consider the recent history of buildings in reconstruction and interpretation. Graphical representations are used to model some of the cumulative impacts of reconstruction on the images of historic buildings in the present.


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Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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