House Histories Workshop in Portsmouth, May 11

Have you ever wanted to research the history of your house?

This workshop offers an introduction to house histories with house historian Melanie Backe-Hansen and design historian Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan. It covers information and practical advice on how to research the history of your house, who lived in it and how it was decorated and furnished. There will also be an opportunity to start your research using appropriate resources in the Portsmouth History Centre.

Please note that we are planning to run a follow-up workshop in the Autumn when you can report on your progress and receive advice and feedback.

Visit the eventbrite page below to sign up!


Melanie Backe-Hansen (House Historian)
Melanie is an independent historian, writer, and speaker, specialising in the social history of houses. The main focus of her work involves original research for home owners and corporate clients across the country to provide research reports and bespoke house history books. She is the author of House Histories and Historic Streets and Squares, both with The History Press. She was historical consultant and onscreen expert for Phil Spencer’s History of Britain in 100 Homes on More4 and is research consultant for BBC Two’s A House Through Time. Melanie is a member of the Royal Historical Society and is an honorary teaching fellow at the University of Dundee, tutoring the house history module for The Centre for Archive and Information Studies.

Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan (University of Portsmouth)
Deborah is Professor of Design History and Theory and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth. She researches the history of the design and decoration of the home. Her most recent book is Ideal Homes, 1918-39: Domestic Design and Suburban Modernism (Manchester University Press) and she is currently writing a book on the past, present and future of the kitchen. She is series consultant and onscreen expert for BBC2’s A House Through Time.

Michael Gunton (Portsmouth Library and Archive Service)
Michael is Senior Archivist at Portsmouth Library and Archive Service


Eldon Building, University of Portsmouth
10.00-11.00 How to research the history of my house? Melanie Backe-Hansen
11.00-11.30 Coffee
11.30-12.30 What did my house look like? Prof Deborah Sugg Ryan
12.30-1.30 lunch (bring a packed lunch or purchase own on the day)

Portsmouth History Centre, Portsmouth Central Library
1.30-2.30 Getting started: Records and databases Michael Gunton
2.30-3.15 Hands-on research

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