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Introduction

 

Home is an essential part of us all. Our houses, flats, streets and estates are extensions of ourselves; they give us ways to express who we are and how we live, and they frame our memories.

 

Of course they are also practical – places where we eat, sleep or store stuff. Yet home is probably the most expensive thing we ever buy – or would like to buy – offering a lifetime of investment, preoccupation and obsession. Throughout history home has been an indicator of status and ambition, but also of desire and frustration.

 

This exhibition charts the story of everyday homes in Britain. It charts why they look the way they do, who they were built for and how they were sold to us. And Sarah Beeny, as guest curator, explores particular themes that have also influenced the character of our homes. 'A Place to Call Home' explores a very British obsession and the ideas that have come to define how and where we live. It asks whether we all ultimately live in a place we are happy to call 'home'.