This article offers a fresh perspective on the evolution of energy consumption in Britain from the 1920s to the 1970s. The twentieth century witnessed a series of energy transitions – from wood and coal to gas, electricity, and oil – that have transformed modern lives. The literature has primarily followed supply, networks, and technologies. We need to know more about people and their homes in this story, because it was here where energy was used. The article investigates the forces that shaped domestic demand by focusing on working-class households in public housing. It examines the interaction between political frameworks, public housing infrastructures, and the changing norms and practices of people's daily lives. It connects social and political history with material culture and compares the different paths taken in London, Stocksbridge, and Stevenage in the provision of gas, electricity, and heating. Evidence collected by local authorities is used to analyse the uptake, use, and resistance to changes in domestic infrastructures, such as gas-lit coke ovens and central heating. The case-studies make a more general pitch for a new historical study of energy that places people's lifestyles, their ideas of comfort, and political attempts to change them more squarely at the centre of inquiry.
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