Comfort, Pleasure and Prestige describes the ways in which the Welsh gentry used domestic technology to ensure that their country-house lifestyle was as comfortable as possible. While the focus of the book is unashamedly about the technology of country houses, in order to explain why some technologies were adopted while others were not, domestic technology is placed squarely in its social and historical context.
Although the Welsh gentry’s fortunes fluctuated wildly between 1750 and 1930, throughout that period they continued to pursue a quite hedonistic lifestyle in the relative opulence of their country houses. To a large extent, they did so, due to their willingness to install new forms of technology such as flush toilets, electric lighting and central heating. In exploring the relationship between technology, domestic service and the gentry’s social aspirations, Comfort, Pleasure and Prestige draws on examples of country houses from across west Wales.
This book is essential reading for those wanting to know more about the technologies that enabled country houses to run smoothly. It is also essential reading for those who wish to understand more fully how the gentry actually lived, and the social, technical and economic factors that lay behind the introduction of new technology in Welsh country houses.