Cartwright Gardens, 1975
Prince Albert Gardens, St James Street, 1974
Kent Gardens, 1970
St Oswald’s Gardens (on left) 1979
My last post on Liverpool’s inter-War tenements created a lot of interest, so here are a few more photographs of now-demolished blocks. The only one I am struggling to name is the block on the right in St Oswald Street, Old Swan. The tenements on the left are St Oswald’s Gardens, which were demolished to make way for a Tesco superstore in 2000.
I have been referencing an interesting book Housing: A European Survey published in 1936, which included local authority housing in Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Barcelona as well as Liverpool, London, Leeds and Birmingham. The survey was of progressive schemes to improve the housing conditions of the working class and it heralds the unprecedented efforts made since the War ended in 1918 to tackle the slum housing and overcrowding prevalent in all of the cities covered.
Sir Lancelot Keay provided the information for Liverpool and it was under his guidance that the city pioneered both the tenements and what he named cottages (the council houses still standing along Queen’s Drive, in Dovecot, Speke and elsewhere), His plans were for 5,000 cottages and 16,000 flats.
The cottages were preferred by the younger generation whilst the older generation were happier being rehoused in the city centre neighbourhoods they were familiar with. The need for city centre tenements was primarily to provide proximity to the docks for workers.
It would be hard to underestimate what moving into a new flat must have been like for the fortunate tenants. For the first time, most would have running (and hot) water, an indoor toilet and bathroom, dry and spacious living areas and a kitchen fitted with a gas cooker. By the time the photographs were taken in the 1970s, they were no longer modern and needed considerable renovation to bring them up to standard. As we know, the agreed solution was to demolish them – so we are only left with a photographic record of a major housing initiative.