Dr Elizabeth Darling

Reader in Architectural History

Elizabeth Darling works on 20th century British architectural history with a particular interest in inter-war modernism, social housing, and gender. She has published on the nature of authorship in the design process; the innovative practices of the inter-war voluntary housing sector; the housing consultant Elizabeth Denby; the relationship between citizenship and the reform of domestic space in inter-war Britain, and sexuality, domesticity and modernism in 1920s Cambridge. Her book on British architectural modernism, Re-forming Britain: Narratives of Modernity before Reconstruction, was published by Routledge in early 2007 while an edited volume (with Lesley Whitworth), Women and the Making of Built Space in England, 1870-1950 was published by Ashgate in autumn 2007. Her most recent publication is Wells Coates (RIBA Publishing, 2012). Forthcoming work includes a discussion of Modernism and the Neo-Georgian in 1930s England, and the introduction to a new edition of Elizabeth Denby's 1938 book Europe Rehoused.



  • U68001: Museums and Society
  • U68022: Art and Modernity, 1917-1939
  • U68026: Curatorial Practice
  • U68024/5: Advanced Seminar: This Changing World: Culture and Modernity in 1930s England
  • Dissertation supervision


Current research focuses on three main areas : the link between urban renewal and social (especially child welfare) reform in the slums of Edinburgh in the early 20th century (with funding from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland); the arena in which progressive ideas about design and space were developed and disseminated in 1920s Britain, and an in-depth study of the work and life of the architect-engineer Wells Wintemute Coates, which research is supported by funding from the Paul Mellon Centre for the Study of British Art and the RIBA Research Trust.



  • Books
  • Journal articles
  • Book chapters
  • Other


  • Wells Coates, RIBA Publishing in collaboration with the 20th Century Society & English Heritage (2012)
  • Re-forming Britain: Narratives of Modernity before Reconstruction Routledge (2007)
  • Women and the Making of Built Space in England, 1870-1950, with Lesley Whitworth, Ashgate, (2007)

Journal articles

‘From cockpit to domestic interior: the Great War and Wells Coates’s Architecture.’ In the Journal of Architecture 19:6 (2014), 903-922

 ‘Overcrowding and Oversprawl,’ Architectural Review (Archives feature), August 2014, 96-97

Book chapters

  • ‘Introduction’ to the re-issue of Elizabeth Denby’s Europe Rehoused as part of the Routledge International Planning History series, reissued 2014 

  • ‘1934’ in Susannah Charlton (ed), 100 Buildings for 100 Years, Twentieth Century Society/Batsford, 2014 

  • 'Nuclei of a genuine urban life: Bringing the country to the city in 1930s London', in Making a New World, Architecture and Communities in interwar Europe, eds Rajesh Heynickx & Tom Avermaete, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2012, 131-44
  • 'Britain Today at Expo '67' in Expo '67, Not Just a Souvenir, eds Rhona Richmann Kenneally and Johanne Sloane, University of Toronto Press, 2010, 47-60
  • 'The Scene in which the daily drama of personal life takes place':Towards the modern interior in early 1930s Britain', in P.Sparke et al (eds), Designing the Modern Interior, From the Victorians to Today, Berg, 2009,
  • 'Into the world of conscious expression: Modernist Revolutionaries at the Architectural Association, 1936-39.' in Iain Boyd Whyte (ed), The Man-made Future: Planning, Education and Design in the Mid-20th Century, Routledge, 2006
  • 'A Citizen as well as a Housewife: new spaces of femininity in 1930s London,' in by H. Heynen & G. Baydar (eds), Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Productions of Gender, London: Routledge, 2005
  • 'Elizabeth Denby versus Maxwell Fry: A Matter of Attribution.' Chapter in B.Martin & P.Sparke (eds), Women's Places, London: Routledge, 2003
  • '"Enriching & Enlarging the Whole Sphere of Human Activities": the Work of the Voluntary Housing Sector in Housing Reform in inter-war Britain'. Chapter in C.Lawrence & A.K. Meyer (eds), Regenerating England: Science, Medicine and Culture in the Inter-war Decades, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000


Electronic Publications

‘R.E.Sassoon House, Peckham’, July’s Building of the Month, Twentieth Century Society website: www.c20society.org.uk/botm/sassoon-house-london/