Upcoming blogs: The works of Pearl Jephcott

Following previous blogs on the works of Pearl Jephcott and the interst this has generated, madeinleicester.com will be publishing more blogs on this subject in 2014/2015. Look out for three blogs that will be published here and via our twitter account @mi_leicester :

Upcoming Blogs with accompanying images:

‘Parents at Home’ in Jephcott’s Homes in High Flats (image 1)

The Social Background of Delinquency – Jepchott and Carter. (image 2)

Jepchott’s Some Young People (image 3)


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‘Parents at Home’ in Jephcott’s Homes in High Flats

The Social Background of Delinquency – Jepchott and Carter.

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Jepchott’s Some Young People

Homes in High Flats

Henrietta O’Connor

mapOne of the striking aspects of Pearl Jephcott’s archive in the University of Glasgow Library is the breadth and depth of her research activity. For her seminal study on high-rise living, ‘Homes in High Flats’, Pearl carried out extensive research on the development of tower blocks in the UK and overseas. Her archive contains numerous folders filled with articles, photographs and maps of high rise living ‘from places such as far apart as Melbourne, Philadelphia, Caracas, Prague and Moscow’ (Jephcott, 1971:2).  Maps are a regular feature of her work and it is no surprise that as part of her study of high-rise flats in Glasgow Pearl began by carrying out a mapping exercise illustrating the locations of the new housing developments. The map featured in this blog is taken from her archive and shows how she used the city map to indicate new housing developments that were complete at the time of her research, each separate tower block depicted by small red squares. Planned or incomplete blocks were illustrated by a red unfilled square.

Although the first tower block in Glasgow was occupied as early as June 1952 it was not until the 1960s that the rapid expansion of this type of building occurred. The main sample for the planned research consisted of those developments that were occupied by July 1968 (143 blocks in total), increasing to 163 by May 1969. The final sample consisted of five estates, narrowed down ‘to enable staff to make sustained relationships with individual households, increasing their chances of finding out which aspects of multi-story life had most bearing on the tenants satisfaction or otherwise’ (p28). The five estates selected were located across the city and two research staff went to live in a high-rise flat, for just over 6 weeks, in four of the five locations. The five estates selected were Wynford (16 blocks), Royston (3), Albion (3) Castlemilk (5) and Red Road (3) (see Jephcott, 1971: 29).


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Map: University of Glasgow Archive, Glasgow Map DC127/17/6

Jepchott, P. (1971) Homes in High Flats: Some of the Human Problems Involved in Multi-Storey Housing. Oliver and Boys: Edinburgh

Embodying Leisure: The Use of Images in Pearl Jephcott’s ‘Time of One’s Own’


John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor

While the lives and works of many sociologists have now been well documented numerous sociologists at the ‘coal face’ of social research remain ignored. As such, beyond the contributions of those more ‘well known’ scholars, considerably more needs to be done to examine the history of our discipline to reassess the significant contributions made by ‘other’ researchers so that we may reappraise what can be learnt from these ‘pioneer scholars’. To this end we have just completed this occasional paper relating to the work of Pearl Jephcott (1900-1980). Jephcott had a research career spanning forty years and made significant contributions to the understanding of social life especially urban living, youth, gender and class. Jephcott was also at the forefront of innovation in social science research methodology during the 1960s. Yet despite the quality and depth of her work she is now largely forgotten save for the occasional citation. A full review of her work and contribution is beyond the scope of a single paper so we consider in more detail one of the most striking features of her sociological practice – the use of images in the book Time of One’s Own (1967).

As well as reading this paper the previously unpublished images relating to Time of One’s Own, that we rediscovered in 2011 the University of Glasgow archives, can be view at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uofglibrary/sets/72157628015342067/

For further information see ‘Press Releases‘.