|The Independent, Monday 4 April 1988
JILL FRANKLIN was an architectural and social historian who contributed greatly to our understanding and appreciation of the nineteenth century.
Jill Leslie read Greats at Oxford, then studied typography, and went to work for the publishers Chatto and Windus. Later on, she went to the Courtauld Institute, where she read for a doctorate in the history of art under Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. In 1975, she became a tutor in the extra-mural department of London University. Her study of the Victorian country house, The Gentleman’s Country House And Its Plan, 1835-1914, was published in 1981. Without ignoring aesthetic considerations, she concentrated on the uses to which various parts of the house were put, and the convenience and elaborate way of life of its inhabitants. By analysing the layout of nearly 400 houses and reproducing the plans of nearly half of them, she revealed them and their owners in a new and sympathetic light. Following on the work of Mark Girouard, and The Destruction of the Country House exhibition, her study helped to bring about a greater appreciation of the period and the genre, which has arrested the pace of destruction.
The thoroughness and practicality of her approach was very characteristic, and was demonstrated in her work for the Victorian Society, of which she was a hard-working committee member , for many years, Her professional advice was always available to the society’s officers. Her expeditions organised for society members to selective country houses were always carefully researched, meticulously organised, and much enjoyed by ail. The zest and enthusiasm which she brought to research, as to all other matters, made her a stimulating and entertaining colleague.
She was working on a study of lodges and gatehouses at the time of her death, much of which was complete, and it is to be hoped that this will appear in due course.
|Guardian, Friday 1 April 1988
THE death of Jill Franklin at only 59 has robbed the world of architectural history of one of its most distinguished practitioners.
The daughter of a senior civil servant in the Treasury she read Greats at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford and subsequently worked as a typographer and designer for Chatto and Windus. She married Norman Franklin of Routledge and Kegan Paul in 1953, and it was while their four children were growing up that she began the study of art history as an extra mural student of the University of London, by way of an intellectual diversion. Her exceptional ability was swiftly recognised by Margaret Whinney, and she went on to study for a Ph.D. at the Courtauld under the supervision of Nikolaus Pevsner.
The thesis she wrote then on the planning of the English country house became the basis of The Gentleman’s Country House and its Plan 1835-1940, published in 1981, a scholarly and exhaustive study. She described the refinements of planning which followed the polarisation of society into distinct classes, and the changing manners and the developing domestic technology of the time.
The research for this involved the study of the architects’ drawings, house visiting, and interminable reading of professional periodicals and building magazines, as well as the literature and many volumes of reminiscences written during this period. All this material was analysed, the houses separately described, and their plans meticulously redrawn to scale. It is a book which is constantly referred by her fellow architectural historians and those studying the sociology of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In 1973 she took up the post of tutor in the history of art and architecture with the Extramural Department of London University and later became a voluntary worker with the Camden Bereavement Service. Despite these calls upon her | time she was an enthusiastic member of the Victorian Society and organised each year memorable expeditions to country houses, during which the members were encouraged to contribute to a continuing discussion of planning and design. The care she took in arranging these visits made them most instructive and enjoyable, and they were always over-booked. She had recently been working on a new book on the development of lodges and gatehouses which promised to be as widely researched and innovative as that on the country houses. and it is sad that this cannot now appear.
Jill Franklin will probably be best remembered by her colleagues for her constant encouragement and readiness to talk over either major problems of interpretation of material, or interesting snippets of information which might turn out to be of importance. The value of such a friend is hard to express. She was greatly loved and is missed dreadfully.
|The Times, Saturday April 2 1988
Dr Jill Franklin, who has died, at the age of 59, was an architectural historian whose special gift was to open her readers’ eyes to the social patterns that lay behind the design of houses.
She had been a university teacher, but she seemed to prefer teaching under the auspices of something like the Workers’ Educational Association. It reflected the breadth of her social and political concern. She believed in “levelling everyone upwards”.
She was best known for her book The Gentleman’s Country House and Its Plan (1981). It followed her PhD work (supervised by Nikolaus Pevsner) on the planning of the Victorian country house, but it broke new ground by taking the study of this type of house up to 1914.
By including Edwardian buildings, she drew attention to a new breed of house owners with origins and requirements that contrasted vividly with those of the aristocratic builders of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, whose ideas on housebuilding stemmed from the ownership of several thousand acres. The occupants of these Edwardian houses were professional men who wanted them for weekends and for summer; they had to be conveniently close to London. One difference from their present day counterparts was that they were built to accommodate numerous servants.
Jill Franklin was fascinated by how social stratifications and practices profoundly affected the plan of a house. Her discussion of this was a pioneering contribution to scholarship, for in the late 1960s architectural research was less directed than it is today towards social issues.
Jill Leslie, as she was, was born in 1928, and educated at Oxford, where she read Greats. For a time she worked in a publisher’s design section.
A chance decision to attend a University of London extramural diploma class in the history of art changed her life. Despite having a young family, she read prodigiously, developed an alert eye, and
was a joy to teach. By 1965 she had been awarded the Gilchrist Prize and the Diploma with Distinction a rare achievement.
Also exceedingly rare among adult students was the determination to follow it up with research. Her success was recognized when she was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
At the time of her death she was engaged on a study of lodges and gatehouses which would have complemented her earlier work.
She taught at Keele and Boston universities but her true direction lay in adult education. Since 1973 she had been a part-time tutor at the London University department of extra-mural studies.
She was a woman who espoused causes, among them the anti-apartheid movement, and she worked as a counsellor of the bereaved.
|Daily Telegraph, Monday 28 March 1988
JILL FRANKLIN, the architectural historian who has died aged 59, made a significant contribution to Victorian studies.
Her book, The Gentleman’s Country House and Its Pian 1835-1914 (198]) was remarkable for reproducing more plans than photographs, for it dealt with the social and technical reasons for the extraordinarily elaborate and seemingly impractical arrangement of the vast Victorian country house. She also contributed the section on architecture in the study of The Victorian Countryside edited by G E Mingay.
Jill Leslie was born in 1928, daughter of a senior civil servant in the Treasury, and read Greats at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. After studying typography she worked as a jacket designer for Chatto & Windus.
In 1953 she married the publisher Norman Franklin, of Routledge & Kegan Paul, and in the intervals of bringing up four children she read art history as an extra-mural student of London University, going on to study for a doctorate at the Courtauld Institute, where Sir Nikolaus Pevsner was her supervisor.
From 1973 she was a tutor in the History of Art and Architecture for the Extra-Mural Department of London University. She was an active member of the Victorian Society and at the time of her death was working on a study of gatehouses and lodges.
Mark Girouard writes: Jill Franklin belonged to the class and generation which took it for granted that service to other people should come before personal) comfort or gain. Her integrity was complete, but made attractive by her warmth, directness and sense of fun and of the ridiculous She worked without stint both on her extramural courses and as a voluntary worker on behalf of the bereaved in North London.
She was a popular teacher, with outstanding gifts both of communicating knowledge and of getting on with people. She made buildings and works of art come alive by discussing the society and way of life behind them, as well as the objects or buildings themselves.
Her qualities were epitomised in The Gentleman’s Country House, in which both the houses themselves and every nuance of the life of the upper and upper-middle classes inhabiting them were analysed with perceptive zest, on the basis of an exhaustive study of sources of every kind.