Our HBC Researcher, Hannah Armstong, passed her PhD
November 30, 2016
Hannah Armstrong from our Historic Building Consultancy Department has just passed her PhD Viva at Birkbeck College, University of London.
The subject of her research was the lost eighteenth-century estate Wanstead House and its landscape located just outside London. The estate was acquired by Josiah Child, Director of the East India Company in 1673 and flourished to become one of the most significant country houses of the 18th century, recognised by contemporaries as equal to the likes of Holkham, Stowe and Blenheim. Due to financial debts accumulated by the family, the contents of the house had to be sold in 1822 and the house was pulled to the ground. All that marks the spot of this magnificent lost house is a large crater on what is now the Wanstead Golf Club.
The dispersal of Wanstead’s fabric and the fact that it was demolished prior to the introduction of photography has resulted in Wanstead becoming largely lost to academia. This is surprising considering Wanstead was amongst Colen Campbell’s and William Kent’s earliest works and that the landscape is attributed to leading landscape designers George London and Henry Wise, Charles Bridgeman, William Kent and Humphry Repton. In addition to reawakening Wanstead’s lost history, the thesis explored themes of social status, geographical setting and estate management.