BBC London last night's squatter/public housing documentary

chris morton crisscross at
Thu Jul 12 21:08:24 BST 2012

Hate to spoil a good story and don't wish to detract from Charles Booth's achievements, but Liverpool council started building council houses in 1869.

The motivation came from the Health of Towns commission of 1844 which also led to the provision of water supplies. In Liverpool the worthies of the day set up a competition for model affordable dwellings to be built. It failed miserably because wages were far too low to build anything both sanitary and affordable, hence the council realised it had to do the job itself.

I suppose 160 years is rather a short period of time for the ideas to have sunk in

The Secret History of Our Streets
The sixth episode features Arnold Circus, in the East End and the story of a Victorian social experiment that changed Britain. Arnold Circus is home to the first council estate which opened in 1896. The planning of the estate, from its lack of pubs to the pattern of the brickwork, was deliberate in order to make its residents respectable, as previously the land had played host to a notorious crime-ridden slum.
Featuring compelling accounts from residents both past and present, this is the story of how Arnold Circus made the difficult journey from feared underclass to a self-respecting community; of how it became and still is a haven in heart of the City.

Watch now - 6 days left

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