C20 Journal 9 - Housing the Twentieth Century Nation

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Edited by Elain Harwood & Alan Powers

There was no bigger issue in the twentieth century than housing. In peace or war, people need homes, and a growing population and demands for better standards put architects, planners and sociologists to work. The century was known for its public housing, culminating in the tower blocks that once peppered major cities such as Birmingham and Glasgow, now fast disappearing. But that is far from the whole story.

This journal considers housing from across the century, from rural Norfolk to inner London, via Scotland and Wales. It looks at the work of local authorities on meagre budgets, at the colourful world of housing charities in the 1920s and even at the problems of building high-density flats for the rich.

Other articles appraise Britain’s housing internationally. East Tilbury, built for a Czech industrialist on modernist lines, is studied in new depth. Cumbernauld and Peterlee – pillories of post-war planning – are reappraised, and forgotten housing figures from mid-century Liverpool and the Midlands uncovered. New light is also shed on such famous estates as Alton and Byker, with articles by architects who designed them.


1. Barbara Linsley Homes for Heroes: Local Authority Housing in Rural Norfolk, 1918 – 1923

2. Roland Jeffrey Housing Happenings in Somers Town

3. Matthew Whitfield Lancelot Keay and Liverpool’s Multi-Storey Housing of the 1930s

4. Joanna Smith ‘Work Collectively and Live Individually’: The Bata Housing Estate at East Tilbury

5. Judith Alfrey Themes and Sources for Public Housing in Wales

6. Elain Harwood Neurath and Bilston, Pasmore and Peterlee

7. Peter Carolin Sense, sensibility and tower blocks: the Swedish influence on post-war housing in Britain

8. John Partridge Roehampton Housing

9. Chris Whittaker The Water Gardens, ‘An Underrated Corner of the Capital’

10. Miles Glendinning Cluster Homes, Planning and Housing in Cumbernauld New Town

11. Michael Drage Byker: Surprising the Colleagues for 35 Years, a Social History of Ralph Erskine’s Arkitektkontor AB in Newcastle

12. Jonah Lowenfeld Estate Regeneration in Practice: The Mozart Estate, Westminster, 1985–2004

255x198mm, 176pp
b/w illustrations
Published 2008
ISBN: 978 0 9556687 0 8