Forcing Domesticity


^ Margaret Thatcher in the kitchen at 10 Downing Street. Above: ca. 1979. Below: 1989




Yesterday there were two fantastic articles on The Guardian about Thatcher. One about death etiquette with public (not private) figures and another about the possibility of privatising her funeral as a tribute to her legacy. As brilliantly narrated on CHAVS – The demonization of the working class, the whole dismantlement of the welfare state and social housing is something for which the world will remember her administration, amongst other issues. Unfortunately, the British privatisation model is ‘enlightening’ today south-European countries as a remedy to the crisis.

Today several sets of images of the kitchen at Downing Street residence are virally circulating. They compare the interior design of Margaret’s and Samantha’s kitchen in a fake domestic atmosphere. This iconography seems to be the means of representation for carefully staged ideal housewives. More or less spartan, the kitchen is still used as heteronormative propaganda for certain values in order to connect with wider ‘middle classes’. Apparently, this is the place where a powerful woman is expected to publicly inhabit if she wants to communicate closely with her citizens and transmit a feeling of ‘normal’ life. But who needs to believe still in this Ikea-catalogue plastic happiness? I wish Prime Ministers and/or spouses were a bit more Ikea-disobedients and were also photographed while a night out with Berlin’s mayor at Berghain: sweaty and vulgar.





^ James and Samantha Cameron in their West London apartment, 2010 via The Telegraph





^ Samantha Cameron and Michelle Obama sitting at 11 Downing Street semi-open kitchen. Image released by the White House 2011 via bbc news





Source of plans and images below: Montague H. Cox & G. Topham Forrest (eds). Survey of London: volume 14. London, 1931. via British-History




^ Main Kitchen for the Downing Street residence




^ 11 Downing Street. Ground, First and Second Floor plan. 1846





^ Ground floor 10 Downing Street with 1781 alterations. Note that the drawing is South-oriented





^ 10, 11 & 12 Downing Street. Ground Floor plan. ca. 1931





^ 10, 11 & 12 Downing Street. First Floor plan. ca. 1931





^ 10, 11 & 12 Downing Street. Second Floor plan. ca. 1931





^ Elevation and section Downing Street. ca. 1931





^ Elevation and section Downing Street. ca. 1931





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