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Desmond7

Homes unfit for heroes

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Desmond7

Homes fit for heroes ... we all know it didn't happen. But I found this 1940 picture of an area of my home town which is now long gone. It was Alexander Street and a crowded, hard little district it was. In the First World War, this 100 yard long street and its tiny offshoots was home to dozens of Ballymena soldiers.

It has been grim before 1914 - it continued to be grim after 1914 and through the depression ... but this pic was taken in 1940 and it looks as if zilch has changed.

Were barefoot kiddies still a commonplace site in similar districts of England/Scotland etc in the 1940s too?

I just realised that this should go in 'Other' or 'Chit Chat' ... but some kindly moderator will hopefully do the needful?

post-1582-1114860900.jpg

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Guest

There were huge slum clearance programmes in many cities in the 1930s and you can see the results today in many Council estates (no longer really a valid term, as usually well over 50% are privately owned now) of distinctive 1930s design.

A much smaller number of "homes fit for heroes" were built by Councils in the early 1920s until the funding ran out. These were generally built to very high standards and many are what we think of as garden estates.

I worked in public sector housing in Bristol for over 16 years and if anyone wants details of Bristol examples I would be happy to oblige.

However, this was insufficient to eliminate all slum housing and it did nothing in itself to eliminate poverty, which was the cause of shoelessness.

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J T Gray

I can't pass comment on barefoot children, but at Hempstead in Essex in 1939 there were still people living in cottages with earth floors. I wonder whether houses like these would have been part fo the rural slum clearance that seems to have been so active in that area in the 1950s?

Adrain

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markinbelfast

Up til 1992 I lived with an outside toilet and no running warm water....!

Still houses with outside toilets not too far from me!

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Terry_Reeves

I agree with Angie here. It was the same story in the West Midlands. However, some quality housing was also built in 1917-1918 as well, particularly in the larger industrial cities, to cater for the increasing number of munitions workers moving in to the larger urban areas. You will also find a number of Boot Funds about in the inter-war period, although some of these pre-dated the war. These were local charities which provided footwear for children.

Terry Reeves

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Desmond7

Here's a sad and - maybe - a 'feelgood factor' post - the generation who lived in Alexander Street are/were fiercely protective of their 'wee street' ..

call it 'Clabber Street' (it's nickname) and you risk major trouble!

They knew it was grim, and they took/take an inverse pride in coming from there.

But Jeez it was a hard hole .. I know, I've read the court reports!!

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BeppoSapone

May 1st 2005

I have just been looking up Sylvia Pankhurst and found the following:

"During the war Sylvia joined with Dr. Barbara Tchaykovsky to open four mother-and-baby clinics in London. Tchaykovsky pointed out that during the first year of the war 75,000 British soldiers (2.2 per cent of the combatants) had been killed. However, during the same period over 100,000 babies in Britain (12.2 per cent of those born) had died. In 1915 nearly 1,000 mothers and their babies were seen at Sylvia's clinics. Local politicians such as George Lansbury helped to raise funds for the organisation that's milk bill alone was over £1,000 a year. "

Some 100,000 babies born in 1914 who didn't live to have no shoes on their feet!

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