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August 21 , 2009

My Life in Houses


**As heard on BBC Radio 4**

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‘I was born on May 25, 1938, in the front bedroom of a house in Orton Road, on the outer edges of Raffles, a council estate. I was a lucky girl.’

So begins Margaret Forster’s journey through the houses she’s lived in, from that sparkling new council house, built as part of a utopian vision by Carlisle City Council, to her beloved London house of today, via Oxford, Hampstead, the Lake District and a spell in the Mediterranean.

This is not a book about bricks and mortar, or about how a house becomes a home with the right scatter of cushions.

This is a book about what houses are to us, the effect they have on the way we live our lives. It is also a wonderful backwards glace at the changing nature of our accommodation: from blacking grates and outside privies; to cities dominated by bedsits and lodgings; to houses today being converted back into single dwellings, all open-plan spaces and bringing the outside in.

Finally, it is a gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home.

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