What is Mock Tudor?

In this project we want to suggest that Mock Tudor be understood in several ways; as we want to suggest below Mock Tudor can be understood as something quite abstract; (that is Mock Tudor can be understood as a series of cultural discourses) and as something very material (that is, the actual built architectural form).

In what follows we shall now review the many ways by which Mock Tudor can be understood:

Cultural background and identity : Firstly, then, we want to argue that in many respects Mock Tudor is an idea or conceptual ideal for a style of housing that has emerged out of a long series of varied socio, cultural and economic relations that have in their turn arisen from very differing interest groups. In this regard; Mock Tudor is an outcome of social relations and at times as we shall suggest elite social groupings, collectivities and historical moments.

Agency, agents, intentionality and micro meanings: Secondly, as well as studying collectivities and structures and assemblages of feeling and discourse we also want to pay attention to the way that Mock Tudor buildings play an important part in a more everyday construction of people's various identities.

Style: Thirdly, then, we also want to suggest crucially that Mock Tudor refers to that form of building which has a particular exterior style. In short we identify two major styles that we would like to label, the 'Tudor-Mason style' and the 'Magpie' or 'Yeoman' cottage style. The first style the Tudor-Mason style can be associated with those Tudor-revival architectures that resemble Hampton Court Palace. Crucially this building is made of brick (usually red-brick) and is distinctive by its arch gables and tall chimney's. Symbolically this building might be associated with aristocractic members of Tudor society.

The Magpie style on the other hand refers to those buildings that were constructed to resemble what might be regarded as a middle class Tudor farm house or large cottage. Specifically this style is distinctive by the use of oak beams that are fixed (and/or attached) to white washed walls on the exteriors of a building. It has therefore often been described as the magpie style in historical contexts because of the striking black and white exterior. Symbolically and unlike the Tudor-Mason building, this building may be associated with members of Tudor society who came from what be crudely defined as a 'middling sort of background', including Yeoman, wealthy farmers or small land owners.

Time: Fourthly of course, rather than just style alone there is the issue of time. Indeed, with regard to its temporal construction we want to define Mock Tudor as any of those 'Tudoresque buildings' that emerge after the Tudor period 1485- 1603. Of course there are problems with this definition since defining the Tudor period as a distinct culture that had a nice neat beginning and a nice neat ending would be to reduce history to a series of stages that can be defined by the characteristics and attributes of a certain Royal culture; such as the Tudors, the Jacobeans and the Georgians for example. Specifically then, when we talk about a temporal understanding of Mock Tudor we do not want the buildings we are identifying to be read as structures that refer to hermitically sealed time periods. Indeed, as we suggest throughout our project the 'Tudor period' - or nostalgia for the Tudor period in Britain (and around the world) is itself a representation that is powerful and awkward. However, what is crucial about our temporal definition of Mock Tudor is that we define it as those buildings which make some reference (whether historically accurate or inaccurate) to that period in time which in English history which is crudely/traditionally described as the Tudor period - a 'period' in English history between the years of 1485-1603. What is important also here in our definition of Mock Tudor is the idea of the historical reference. Indeed, in many cases when Mock Tudor styles were constructed in Britain (and around the world) there is certainly an argument for the notion that in many cases much of these buildings often refer to an idea of Tudor architecture, which is more reminecent of the time they were produced in (i.e. the eighteenth century) than the actual aesthetic, material and cultural significations of buildings that actually were built in the Tudor period. In this regard, then, one of the main themes of our project has been to examine the way that different social networks and collectives are actually producing ideas of time - or the Tudor period - in their own historical moment. In this way the idea of the Tudor period and Tudor architecture, may be viewed as a simulacrum, a sealed and hermetic series of signifiers that are constructed by networks, assemblages and actants; a series of simulacrum that eventually have a life of their own.

Space: Fithly we also want to define the notion of Mock Tudor through the idea of space. Specifically and most importantly in this project we define Mock Tudor as that style of building that emerged from England. In this regard; whilst we acknowledge that there are certainly a number of buildings that resemble the Mock Tudor style in Europe - especially in France (in Normandy) and Germany for instance - for the purposes of textual space and/our reading of the cultural processes that surround these buildings, we shall be concerned only with those movements (and the Mock Tudor buildings that arose because of these movements) that emerge in relation to 'English-Tudor' metoynmic significations. This of course does not mean, however, that we do not want to examine the role of Mock Tudor discourses and buildings in other countries; however as we shall explain in this study when we do examine Mock Tudor in other countries our concern is to examine these buildings within the context of ideas of Englishness, whiteness and even Anglo-Saxon racial/ethnic signifiers.

Of course whilst some of these international moments may be directly linked to Imperial projects, we also want to acknowledge that Mock Tudor architecture has also been taken up by certain cultures in more kitsch and non-imerpialistic ways. Particularly, then, many of the new British/English theme parks that have emerged in Asia are certainly a testament to a new and more friendly way of representing and constructing this architecture.