Glasgow: High-Rise Homes, Estates and Communities in the Post-War Period, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


High-Rise Homes, Estates and Communities in the Post-War Period, 1st Edition

By Lynn Abrams, Ade Kearns, Barry Hazley, Valerie Wright


152 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138317093
pub: 2020-04-23
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In the wake of an unparalleled housing crisis at the end of World War II, Glasgow Corporation rehoused the hundreds of thousands of private tenants who were living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in unimproved Victorian slums. Adopting the designs, the materials and the technologies of modernity they built into the sky, developing high rise estates on vacant sites within the city and on its periphery.

This book uniquely focuses on the peoples’ experience of this modern approach to housing, drawing on oral histories and archival materials to reflect on the long-term narrative and significance of high rise homes in the cityscape. It positions them as places of identity formation, intimacy and well-being. With discussions on interior design and consumption, gender roles, children, the elderly, privacy, isolation, social networks and nuisance, Glasgow examines the connections between architectural design, planning decisions and housing experience to offer some timely and prescient observations on the success and failure of this very modern housing solution at a moment when high flats are simultaneously denigrated in the social housing sector while being built afresh in the private sector.

Glasgow is aimed at an academic readership, including postgraduate students, scholars and researchers. It will be of interest to social, cultural and urban historians particularly interested in the United Kingdom.

Table of Contents

List of Figures




  1. Introduction: The fluctuating fortunes of high rise
  2. Embracing high rise in the post-war period

    Retreat from high rise

    Removal and return of high rise

    A retrospective study of the postwar high rise experience

  3. Inside: making homes - privacy and communality
  4. Modern family homes

    Modern interiors

    Space and adaptation

    Consumption, décor and taste

    Privacy versus communality

    Maintenance and security


  5. Outside: Surviving and Thriving on Estates
  6. Estate planning, amenity and social life

    Life on the periphery: a lack of foresight

    Miracle in the Gorbals? City centre living

    ‘You’ve to go into the city’: social facilities

    Children and play: ‘nae use for the bairns’

    Safety and delinquency

    Places to play


  7. Communities: Identity, Change and Neighbourly Relations
  8. Eventless places? Neighbourly interactions on high rise estates

    Narratives of community loss and decline

    New neighbourly relations

    Conclusions: retelling the history of community life

  9. Conclusions: plural histories of multi-storey living


About the Authors

Lynn Abrams is Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on the modern history of gender relations, the practice and theory of oral history and the social and cultural history of modern Scotland.

Barry Hazley is Derby Fellow in the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool and Research Fellow on a project examining Northern Irish migrants during the Troubles in Great Britain. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of modern Britain and Ireland.

Ade Kearns is Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. He has published widely on housing, neighbourhoods and community cohesion and led the GoWell programme, a long-term study of the impacts of regeneration in Glasgow.

Valerie Wright is a historian of modern Britain with expertise in gender, social and political history. She is currently Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling.

About the Series

Built Environment City Studies

The Built Environment City Studies series provides researchers and academics with a detailed look at individual cities through a specific lens. These concise books delve into a case study of an international city, focusing on a key built environment topic. Written by scholars from around the world, the collection provides a library of thorough studies into trends, developments and approaches that affect our cities.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Residential
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
ARCHITECTURE / Codes & Standards
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / General