Bedsit

A bedsit, also known as a bed-sitting room, is a form of rented accommodation common in Great Britain consisting of a single room with a shared bathroom and lavatory; they are part of a legal category of dwellings referred to as Houses in multiple occupation.

In some cases the room has a small formal kitchen area but it is common for the tenants to have no more than an electric kettle and single electric ring.

Bedsits arose from the subdivision of larger dwellings into small low-cost accommodations at low conversion cost. In the UK a growing desire for personal independence after World War II led to a reduced demand for traditional boarding houses with communal dining.

Socially, bedsits are often occupied by young single people, students, those who are unable to purchase their own properties, or those who, for one reason or another, are of a transitory nature, because the living costs are comparatively cheaper than those afforded by private property.

The American equivalents to a bedsit are single room occupancy (SRO) and rooming house. A studio apartment (also known as a studio flat in the United Kingdom) is a one room apartment with a small adjoining kitchen and a private bathroom. A bedsit can also be compared to a Soviet communal apartment, in which a common kitchen, bathroom, toilet, and telephone are shared by several families, each of which lives in a single room opening up onto a common hallway.

Bedsits are often associated with poor people, and are referenced this way in "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues: "bedsitter people look back and lament/on another day's useless energy spent". Justin Hayward, the song's composer and singer for The Moody Blues actually wrote this in his own bed-sit at the age of 19. It's also referenced for a similar purpose in the Soft Cell song "Bedsitter", about club life. However, if someone lives in a different town from the one in which they work, they may rent a bedsit at low cost to avoid driving many miles to and from work each day. This is quite common in the modern day.

Harold Pinter's play "The Room" (1957) is a classic "kitchen sink" drama evoking the squalor and social depression of the bedsitting room culture of the time."The Bedsitter" by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, starring Tony Hancock, produced by the BBC, originally for radio, is a classic depiction of the boredom of bedsit existence.


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  • bedsit — UK [ˈbedsɪt] / US [ˈbedˌsɪt] or bedsitter UK [bedˈsɪtə(r)] / US [ˈbedˌsɪtər] noun [countable] Word forms bedsit : singular bedsit plural bedsits British a room that you rent that is used for both living and sleeping in …   English dictionary

  • bedsit — ed sit n. a furnished sitting room with sleeping accommodations (and some plumbing). Syn: bedsitting room, bedsitter. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bedsit — [ˈbedsɪt] noun [C] British a room that you rent that is used for both living and sleeping in …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • bedsit — (also bedsitter or bed sitting room) ► NOUN Brit. informal ▪ a rented room consisting of a combined bedroom and living room, with cooking facilities …   English terms dictionary

  • bedsit — (also bedsitter) n (in Britain) a flat consisting of one room, used for living and sleeping in. Bedsits are usually rooms in large old houses that have been divided into flats, and are mainly rented by people who live alone, such as students. An… …   Universalium

  • bedsit — [[t]be̱dsɪt[/t]] bedsits N COUNT A bedsit is a room you rent which you use for both living in and sleeping in. [BRIT] He was living alone in a dingy bedsit in London. Syn: bedsitter …   English dictionary

  • bedsit — /bɛdˈsɪt/ (say bed sit), /ˈbɛdsɪt/ (say bedsit) noun → bedsitter …   Australian English dictionary

  • bedsit — noun see bed sitter …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bedsit — noun /ˈbɛdˌsɪt/ A form of rented accommodation consisting of a single room for use as both sitting room and bedroom; there may also be a small kitchen area and washing and toilet facilities, but these may be shared. Syn: flatette …   Wiktionary

  • bedsit — bed|sit [ˌbedˈsıt] n also bed|sit|ter [ ˈsıtə US ər]bedsitting room [bedˈsıtıŋ rum, ru:m] BrE a rented room used for both living and sleeping in …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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