Felicity Hall

Research project: The Material Culture of Floristry as a Gendered Practice in London, 1910-1960


This project identifies the overlooked roles and practices of women within the retail floristry trade in London from 1910 to 1960.  It uses the production and consumption of cut flowers to examine gender, training, employment and business ownership over the course of a longue durée which includes war and peacetime economies, changes in employment law, state education provision, and technological developments in communication. Using the primary sources of trade publications, photographs, instruction manuals and novels, geographical references, organisational archives, and knowledge of floristry as a craft practice, this research project shows the importance of this overlooked field in terms of cultural history, gender and material culture.  

The period covers significant developments including the establishment of florists delivery networks, the emergence of famous florists such as Constance Spry, the introduction of formal floristry qualifications, the introduction of floral foam and the impact of war on flower supply chains.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: The Material Culture of Floristry as a Gendered Practice in London, 1910-1960
  • Research supervisor: Professor Penny Sparke
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Fiona Fisher


Following a career in arts management working with artists, circus companies, live art practitioners, local authorities and funders, I graduated from the History of Design MA at the V&A and RCA in 2016 where my dissertation was on contemporary British floristry.  

Areas of research interest

  • design history
  • floristry and organic ephermera
  • gender and class
  • London
  • domesticity
  • Professional and amateur craft
  • food history


  • MA History of Design V&A/RCA, London
  • Level 2 BTEC First Diploma Floristry, Southwark College, London
  • Postgraduate diploma in Arts Administration City University, London
  • BA (Hons) English Literature, Polytechnic of North London

Funding or awards received

  • TECHNE - AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Conference papers

'The Nature of Floristry', Design History Society Conference, Oslo 2017

''The material culture of contemporary floristry', Material Culture: How Things Make People conference, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljublana 2017

'Nature and British contemporary floristry', Social History Conference, Keele 2018

'The church flower rota: so who is doing the flowers', Academic Archers, Sheffield 2019