1st Edition

A History of Council Housing in 100 Estates

By John Boughton Copyright 2022
    272 Pages
    by RIBA Publishing

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    ‘It was like heaven! It was like a palace, even without anything in it … We’d got this lovely, lovely house.’ In 1980, there were well over 5 million council homes in Britain, housing around one third of the population. The right of all to adequate housing had been recognised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but, long before that, popular notions of what constituted a ‘moral economy’ had advanced the idea that everyone was entitled to adequate shelter. At its best, council housing has been at the vanguard of housing progress – an example to the private sector and a lifeline for working-class and vulnerable people. However, with the emergence of Thatcherism, the veneration of the free market and a desire to curtail public spending, council housing became seen as a problem, not a solution. We are now in the midst of a housing crisis, with 1.4 million fewer social homes at affordable rent than in 1980. In this highly illustrated survey, eminent social historian John Boughton, author of Municipal Dreams, examines the remarkable history of social housing in the UK. He presents 100 examples, from the almshouses of the 16th century to Goldsmith Street, the 2019 winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize. Through the various political, aesthetic and ideological changes, the well-being of community and environment demands that good housing for all must prevail. Features:

    • 100 examples of social housing from all over the UK, illustrated with over 250 images including photographs and sketches.
    • A complete history, dating from early charitable provision to ‘homes for heroes’, garden villages to new towns, multi-storey tower blocks and modernist developments to contemporary sustainable housing.
    • Iconic estates, including: Alton East and West, Becontree, Dawson’s Heights, Donnybrook Quarter, Dunboyne Road and Park Hill.
    • Projects from leading architects and practices, including: Peter Barber, Neave Brown, Karakusevic Carson, Kate Macintosh and Mikhail Riches.

    Introduction CHAPTER 1: A ‘Prehistory’ of Social Housing – early parish and charitable provision; 19th century sanitary reform and building regulation; philanthropic provision 1. Almshouses and Parish Housing 1. Powis Almshouses, Chepstow 2. Parish provision in Mursley, Buckinghamshire 2. Sanitary and building reform and regulation 3. Footdee, Aberdeen  3. Philanthropic provision 4. Peabody: Peabody Square, Islington 5. Artizans', Labourers' and General Dwellings Company: Noel Park, Haringey 6. Edinburgh Co-Operative Building Company: Edinburgh Colonies CHAPTER 2: 1890-1914 – varying early forms of local authority housing and some co-partnership models 1. Municipal tenements and cottage flats 7. Millbank Estate, London 8. Hornby Street, Liverpool 2. Balcony access 9. High School Yards, Edinburgh 10. Valette Buildings, Hackney 3. Garden villages and co-partnership models 11. Burnage GV, Manchester/Brentham Garden Suburb, Ealing 4. Garden Suburbs 12. Flower Estate, Sheffield 13. Old Oak Estate, Hammersmith CHAPTER 3: 1914-1930 – the impact of the First World War; the influence of evolving policy choices on housing forms in the 1920s; prefabrication and other forms of provision  1. Munitions estates 14. Rosyth Garden City, Scotland 15. Well Hall, Greenwich 2. ‘Homes for Heroes’ 16. Moulescombe Estate, Brighton 17. Wollaton Park, Nottingham 18. Townhill Estate, Swansea 19. Moss Park, Glasgow 20. Sea Mills or Hillfields, Bristol 21. Becontree Estate, London 3. Early forms of prefabrication 22. Nissen-Petren Houses, Yeovil 23. Norris Green, Liverpool (Boot houses) 4. Housing associations 24. St Pancras Housing Association CHAPTER 4: 1930-1939 – the policy shift to slum clearance and rehousing; new forms of tenement housing; architectural debates and the relative insignificance of Modernism in Britain 1. Slum clearance estates 25. Knowle West, Bristol 26. Deckham Hall Estate, Gateshead 27. Wythenshawe Estate, Manchester 2. New-style tenements 28. White City, London 29. Liverpool’s 1930s flats 30. Lennox House, Hackney 3. Modernist design 31. Kensal House, London 32. Quarry Hill, Leeds CHAPTER 5: 1940-1955 – the significance of wartime planning; temporary and permanent prefabs; Bevan houses; neighbourhood units; mixed development; Radburn; New Towns and Expanded Towns; model rural council housing; the origins of multi-storey 1. Temporary and permanent prefabs 33. Inverness Road and Humber Doucy Lane, Ipswich 34. Bilborough Estate, Nottingham (BISF and No-Fines houses) 2. Early post-war 35. Minerva Estate, Tower Hamlets 36. Pollok, Glasgow 37. The Creggan, Derry/Londonderry 3. Bevan houses 38. Moorlands Estate, Bath 39. Ermine Estate, Lincoln 40. Gaer Estate, Newport 4. Neighbourhood units 41. Lansbury Estate, Poplar 42. Stowlawn, Bilston (Reilly Greens) 43. Rathcoole Estate, Newton Abbey, Northern Ireland 44. New Parks Estate, Leicester 5. Mixed development 45. Somerford Grove, Hackney 46. Orlando Estate, Walsall 47. Churchill Estate, London 6. Radburn 48. Queen’s Park, Wrexham 49. Middleton Estate, Gainsborough 7. New Towns and Expanded Towns 50. Crawley New Town 51. Cwmbran New Town, Wales 52. Cumbernauld New Town, Scotland 53. Thetford, Norfolk (expanded town) 8. Rural council housing 54. Elwy Road Estate, Rhos on Sea, Wales 55. Tayler and Green, Loddon RDC 9. Early multi-storey 56. Redcliffe flats, Bristol CHAPTER 6: 1956-1968 – New-style suburban estates; the rise of multi-storey; deck access; system-building and high-rise 1. New-style suburban estates (and a ‘New City’) 57. Gleadless Valley, Sheffield 58. Alton East and West, London 59. Cranbrook Estate, Bethnal Green 60. Chinbrook Estate, Lewisham 61. Orchard Park, Hull 62. Craigavon New City, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland  2. Multi-storey 63. Loughborough Road, Southwark  64. Aberdeen Multis 65. Red Road, Glasgow  66. Pepys Estate, Lewisham  67. Divis Flats, Belfast  68. Wyndham Court, Southampton 3. Deck access 69. Park Hill, Sheffield 70. Hyson Green, Nottingham 71. Killingworth, Newcastle 4. System-building and high-rise 72. Pendleton Estate, Salford (early 1960s) 73. Red Road, Glasgow (mid 1960s) 74. Freemason’s Estate (Ronan Point) (1966) CHAPTER 7: 1968-1979 – Developing forms of high-rise; the backlash against high-rise in the form of rehabilitation, municipalisation and low-rise, high-density forms; alternative models of social housing provision 1. High-Rise and multi-storey 75. North Peckham, London 76. Derwent Tower, Whickham 77. Dawson’s Heights, Southwark 78. Coralline Walk and Binsey Walk, Thamesmead 2. Low-rise, high-density 79. Ketts Hill, Norwich 80. Duffryn, Newport 81. Cressingham Gardens, Lambeth 82. Dunboyne Road, Camden83. Dartmouth Park Hill, Camden 3. Rehabilitation 84. General Improvement Area study 4. Municipalisation 85. Municipalisation in Islington 5. Short-life and Housing Coops 86. Sanford Housing Coop, New Cross CHAPTER 8: 1980s-1990s – the sea-change of 1979; new emphasis on regeneration and a revival of traditional streetscapes; new models of provision emphasising cross-subsidy and the role of the third sector; alternative models 1. Regeneration 87. North Hull Estate (HAT) 88. Raffles Estate, Carlisle 89. Hulme, Manchester 90. Five Estates, Peckham 91. Broadwater Farm, Haringey 2. Self-build 92. Segal, Lewisham CHAPTER 9: 2000s – contemporary regeneration; newbuild; sustainable housing 1. Regeneration 93. Sighthill, Glasgow (Transformational Regeneration Area) 2. Newbuild 94. Donnybrook Quarter, Tower Hamlets/Ordnance Rd, Enfield (Peter Barber) 95. Dujardin Mews, Enfield (Karacusevic Carson) 96. Scottish new build (Midlothian/West Lothian/?) 97. Richeson Close, Bristol 3. Sustainable housing 98. Chester-Balmore Scheme, Camden 99. Wilmcote House, Portsmouth 100. Goldsmith Street, Norwich Afterword A brief discussion of the current shifting and contested regarding social housing; a hopeful prediction or manifesto of the forms that new social housing might take. (500-750 words)


    John Boughton is the author of Municipal Dreams: the Rise and Fall of Council Housing and the blog Municipal Dreams, a record of local government reform and council estates across Great Britain. The book has been an Amazon best seller in its category and was selected by Rowan Moore as an Observer Book of the Year. The blog has had over 1.5 million views and 970,000 visitors.