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Looking back on back houses

6 April 2018 by Liz

Patchin Place, Greenwich Village, New York. ‘Court’ style houses filling a small side street area.

I was fortunate enough to make a research trip to New York recently, with my colleague Poppy Learman. This was supported by the Art Fund’s Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Research Grant, and the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project.

We visited numerous heritage sites, archives and museums. One of the highlights for me was meeting staff at Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and discussed their work on New York’s back houses. The irregular street layout at the south tip of Manhattan, developed from the Dutch settlement street pattern, creates areas where courts and alleys developed, with some similarities to Liverpool court housing. A walking tour with Sarah Apmann enabled us to see examples of the Greenwich Village back housing. Read more…



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