Firm foundations or shaky ground? Unraveling tangled threads of attribution

Guedes, Pedro (2011). Firm foundations or shaky ground? Unraveling tangled threads of attribution. In: Antony Moulis and Deborah van der Plaat, Audience: The 28th Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (1-27). 7-10 July 2011.

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Author Guedes, Pedro
Title of paper Firm foundations or shaky ground? Unraveling tangled threads of attribution
Conference name Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference
Conference location Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 7-10 July 2011
Convener Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)
Proceedings title Audience: The 28th Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference
Place of Publication Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Publisher Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)
Publication Year 2011
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
ISBN 9780646558264
0646558269
Editor Antony Moulis
Deborah van der Plaat
Start page 1
End page 27
Total pages 27
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Charles D Young & Co., Edinburgh contractors, ironmongers and fencing manufacturers attracted attention in 1856 with their castigated ‘Brompton Boilers'. This iron building had been commissioned to house exhibits from the Crystal Palace after that building’s removal from Hyde Park. Young & Co. had also been contractors for Dublin's, Great Industrial Exhibition of 1853 and for the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857, but Charles D Young had wider ambitions. In addition to large contracts in Britain, they were hungry for overseas markets, stimulated by antipodean mining booms and imagined needs of South American Governments together with those of Chilean resources magnates who seemed to offer boundless possibilities.

This paper seeks to untangle Charles D Young’s role in the unsettled world of mid-nineteenth century iron construction and global trade in industrial products. It aims to challenge present-day assumptions about mid-nineteenth century marketing, manufacturing, trade relationships and other aspects of vibrant enterprise that prevailed at the time. Evidence of C D Young's ethical exuberance will be suggested along with thorough analysis of a little known 1857 ‘catalogue’ bearing their name. This documentation raises doubts about what has been inferred about their achievements. Australian historians have linked Charles D Young on the strength of a few illustrations in a trade publication, with involvement in several important iron structures including Corio Villa in Geelong. In order to strengthen this and other attributions, snippets of historical evidence laced with conjecture and wishful thinking, have been assembled as fact to create a fabric of warp sustained by little tangible weft.

Overlooked patents, licensing, sub-contracting, optimistic entrepreneurship and other factors that could have been at play will enrich the picture without offering absolute conclusions. It appears that received wisdom is due for revision and hopefully, greater levels of modesty in its presentation will follow.
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Presented during Session 9A: "Nineteenth-century architecture and its audiences". Published in full on the Proceedings CD-ROM enclosed with the Proceedings. Abstract published on p45.

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Architecture Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 11 Aug 2011, 11:39:28 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of School of Architecture