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Thread: Housing Mistakes

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    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Default Housing Mistakes

    We've had so many mistakes in the past. We were going this way that way. Piggeries, Gardens, Fishing Villages... maybe some of the mistakes weren't even mistakes. Chaos. Everyone scared to do anything or at least anything better.

    Sir Lancelot Keay (Gerard Gardens et al) thought he was doing people a favour (in retrospect maybe he was) but he didn’t dream of asking anyone.

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    I’m told to look at the very recent new stuff in Kensington and the like. Any thoughts on living in those?

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    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    As you are no doubt aware Peter, and the short film documentary 'Homes for the workers' says possibly more than I ever could, the buildings of the 'Gardens' were a vast social improvement on what they replaced. Certain essentials (we've now come to expect as normal, even demand) were hot and cold running water inside the house, gas, electricity at the flick of a switch, indoor toilets and bath, back verandas with planters and a central children's play area. I don't expect he thought the need to ask anybody as they were following an Eastern European tried and tested method of economical housing for the masses.

    Of course they were of their time and things progress though it was as you say on your blog, under investment by subsequent councils that led to their premature demise with some still surviving and doing alright in their various new guises.

    ---------- Post added at 03:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:18 PM ----------

    High rise, yes another utopian concept but alas with a lot of flaws and a lot of floors.

    The Cornish fishing village aka The Radcliffe estate was a right mess. Lasting only a decade, a true disaster and criminal rat run.

    Even other 60s and 70s pebble dash estates such as the Grizedale and Easby were not well planned, not if you were an emergency vehicle driver anyway. They replaced old parallel streets and are themselves being replaced within a couple of generations.
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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    "...if Liverpool can get into top gear again there is no limit to the city's potential. The scale and resilience of the buildings and people is amazing it is a world city, far more so than London and Manchester. It doesn't feel like anywhere else in Lancashire: comparisons always end up overseas Dublin, or Boston, or Hamburg."
    Ian Nairn, Britain's Changing Towns, 1967

    Ian did go on and mentioned to forget any modern developments in Liverpool.

    The problem with Liverpool is that it became a gigantic Council House estate. The private sector should have been allowed in to build owner/occupier homes. Private residential was excluded from the city centre, yet Council blocks were erected at the end of Byrom St.

    The middle classes moved to the outskirts where they could by their own homes and commute into the city by the electric urban commuter rail network. This left the city a working class enclave.

    Rapid-transit Commuter Rail, with its radial lines from the city centre, enabled people from the outer suburbs, and surrounding small towns, of cities to access the jobs in the city centre. In the specific case of Liverpool, this contributed to the decline of the inner-cities, as people moved to greener, and cleaner, places to live.

    In the case of commuter-rail, and large through roads, as opposed to a meshed metro, there was severe negative affects as commuter rail contributed to inner-city blight.

    The authorities that allowed the construction were unaware at the time. OK, the outer reaches of cities were supposed to be drawn into the city. I doubt they were expecting the city to be drawn out. In Liverpool's case The electrification of commuter-rail lines in the early 1900s drew people away from the inner-cities. The new electric trains were very fast and clean. At the same time large boulevards were built radiating out from the city and a comprehensive tram system was built with trams in the central reservation - John Lennon lived on one of the boulevards. Trams could get people out of the centre pretty fast as well, but not as far, or as fast, as commuter-rail. The clean running, electric, comprehensive tram network closed down in 1957 for some inexplicable reason. The opening of the under-river Mersey road tunnel in the early 1930s, added again to the decline of the inner-city districts as the middle classes moved out, with the poor working class remaining.

    The Liverpool inner-cities were a mixture of working and middles classes. Whole areas of near 200 year old Georgian houses were demolished. OK, some working class houses needed bulldozing for sure, but the people who lived in the inner-cities were disenfranchised. The Georgian houses still are being demolished singularly, as absent landowners allow them to rot. Seeing the success in the USA and Hong Kong, the city was denied to implement Land Valuation Taxation.

    Commuter-Rail sock life out of the inner-cities, but then came Thatcher/Reagan demolishing industry and outsourcing manufacturing to China to compound the problem.

    Rail overall creates economic growth but sometimes shifts wealth from one area to another. Thought out properly, rail does overall create economic growth with no negative effect on any district. Implemented incorrectly rail can have a negative affect on parts of a community. That was the case with Liverpool and also many north American cities:

    1. The outer parts prospered while the inner-cities slumped.
    2. Visitors see the now ugly inner-city districts easily as they circle the city centre.
    3. The city then gets a negative image from outsiders,
    4. The city image suffers
    5. Overall Investment tails off
    6. The city declines


    That is all too famiiar.
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    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    [INDENT][i]"...if Liverpool can get into top gear again there is no limit to the city's potential...
    I think you'd have to live in a cave to not know that the inner city in Liverpool, like many other 'doughnut' cities has emptied out to the suburbs and the new towns.

    Perhaps you have some thoughts on living in some of the new housing that's gone up in the inner wards in the last decade or indeed very recently?

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    I think you'd have to live in a cave to not know that the inner city in Liverpool, like many other 'doughnut' cities has emptied out to the suburbs and the new towns.

    Perhaps you have some thoughts on living in some of the new housing that's gone up in the inner wards in the last decade or indeed very recently?
    The point is getting them into the inner cities and getting those districts vibrant again. The Echo announced a few days ago HMG is giving money for areas affected by riots. They hope to make Lodge Lane like Lark Lane. If they get an underground station in Lodge Lane and some of the middle class move in I would say that is possible. Wines bars in Lodge Lane? mmmm As now? Nope.

    Liverpool is not a doughnut, it is semi circular. It may be doughnut if Birkenhead is taken into account.

    Most the speculative flats in the centre are like rabbit hutches inside. Many are poorly fitted out with quality lacking.

    But it is step in the right direction. If they expect middle class outsiders to make roots in Liverpool, which the city needs, they had better up the size and quality.

    Read my blog:
    http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/blog.php?265-Waterways
    Commuter-Rail and Inner-City decline
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    The topic of the thread is housing and people's experience of it
    We lost a lot of housing in the inner cities.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
    Rapid-transit rail: Everton, Liverpool & Arena - CLICK

    Save Royal Iris - Sign Petition

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    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    Read my blog:
    The point and topic of the thread is housing and people's experience of it not your personal interpretation of geographic flux/population movement and Liverpool isn't made of batter either but it's still a doughnut city - it's gorra n'ole in the middle.



    ---------- Post added at 09:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:25 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    As you are no doubt aware Peter, and the short film documentary 'Homes for the workers' says possibly more than I ever could...Of course they were of their time and things progress
    You might have seen an interesting programme, 'The Great Estate: The rise and fall of the Council House' http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0109dvs directed by Chris Wilson.

    His argument was that much of council housing had fallen into shocking disrepair not necessarily by virtue of their design but more the politics of the housing acts and the social engineering that created ghettoes of the disadvantaged.

    Places like the Gardens where loved then hated, then loved again (when they'd gone) and even high rise towers now sell as des res.

    I'd be interested to know after all the failures and lessons learnt, whether the lessons have indeed been learned and the current crop of new housing is liked or loathed.

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    I did see the great estate programme Peter and enjoyed it very much. I was brought up in tenements, first the Eldon Grove style flats that we on Holly Street (pre St Anne Street police station) and then Thurlow House (part of Gerard Crescent) and then 200 yards to Gerard Gardens because we'd at last been allocated the all important extra bedroom (but by then my older bro had moved out anyway)

    I didn't know anything else so thought these were the bees knees. I really enjoyed living in them, the coal fires, the snugness (called compact in todays apartments but really means small) I actually felt a bit sorry for those who I knew that lived in just ordinary streets, even those in the posher suburbs with proper gardens, I mean who needs grass when you've got the square down below which was your footy pitch, your cricket pitch, your tennis court, your hopscotch grid etc etc. Many games were invented and improvised upon including 'spot' or hit the post - both similar but where you took turns to try and hit a certain section of wall with the football or the lamp standard in the middle of the square - you had so many lives then you were out until the last man standing was the winner. 60 seconds was another footy game played by using the blocks stairwell entrance as a goal. Lick the can, a variation of hide n' seek and of course off ground tick and the like.

    What did the poor street dwellers do for bommie night when we had our own enclosed square? No, i'd rather not have lived anywhere else in the 70s that in those tennies. It is true that the council after a mid 70s refurb of new roof tiles and Robinson Willey gas fires did rather let the tennies down and in the 80s they were looking tired but needn't have if they were maintained properly.
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    Senior Member Doris Mousdale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I did see the great estate programme Peter and enjoyed it very much. I was brought up in tenements, first the Eldon Grove style flats that we on Holly Street (pre St Anne Street police station) and then Thurlow House (part of Gerard Crescent) and then 200 yards to Gerard Gardens because we'd at last been allocated the all important extra bedroom (but by then my older bro had moved out anyway)

    I didn't know anything else so thought these were the bees knees. I really enjoyed living in them, the coal fires, the snugness (called compact in todays apartments but really means small) I actually felt a bit sorry for those who I knew that lived in just ordinary streets, even those in the posher suburbs with proper gardens, I mean who needs grass when you've got the square down below which was your footy pitch, your cricket pitch, your tennis court, your hopscotch grid etc etc. Many games were invented and improvised upon including 'spot' or hit the post - both similar but where you took turns to try and hit a certain section of wall with the football or the lamp standard in the middle of the square - you had so many lives then you were out until the last man standing was the winner. 60 seconds was another footy game played by using the blocks stairwell entrance as a goal. Lick the can, a variation of hide n' seek and of course off ground tick and the like.

    What did the poor street dwellers do for bommie night when we had our own enclosed square? No, i'd rather not have lived anywhere else in the 70s that in those tennies. It is true that the council after a mid 70s refurb of new roof tiles and Robinson Willey gas fires did rather let the tennies down and in the 80s they were looking tired but needn't have if they were maintained properly.
    Us ordinary street-dwellers called it Kick the Can

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    ....
    But it is step in the right direction. If they expect middle class outsiders to make roots in Liverpool, which the city needs, they had better up the size and quality.
    ....
    The issue you are not mentioning is that the middle class usually want to have children, and a high rise city centre (most cities, not just Liverpool) is not the best place to raise children.

    Creating families was a great part of the move to the suburbs - the dream of a house with a front and back garden. My 90 year old mum still talks about that being the dream of her life after growing up in Italy. She never ever thought that she would own her own home - and probably will never leave it - she's been in the same house now for 61 years now....

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    The issue you are not mentioning is that the middle class usually want to have children, and a high rise city centre (most cities, not just Liverpool) is not the best place to raise children.

    Creating families was a great part of the move to the suburbs - the dream of a house with a front and back garden. My 90 year old mum still talks about that being the dream of her life after growing up in Italy. She never ever thought that she would own her own home - and probably will never leave it - she's been in the same house now for 61 years now....
    That is a poor defense of inner-city decay - perpetrated by Thatcher and Reagan. Children are only a preserve of the middle class?

    You do not need leafy suburbs to bring up children. You need appropriate facilities and open spaces. Also, many people live alone or in couples and no children. People are living longer. Young professionals, and retired people, prefer to live in vibrant city centres, or near to the centre (inner-cities).
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    People who lived in slum housing and there was plenty of that in the Good Old days would think the Gardens were brilliant,but the ones that moved to Norris Green must have thought that they had died and gone to heaven with their back and front gardens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doris Mousdale View Post
    Us ordinary street-dwellers called it Kick the Can
    Ha ha a slip of the 'tongue'.

    ---------- Post added at 11:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:21 AM ----------

    I know of people who moved to houses with front and back gardens whose new house was full of mod cons but not full of memories. For the older generation moving out of the city centre where they'd never needed a bus never mind a taxi, being shut off from what they knew was a wrench to say the least. For some, the garden was too much to maintain and they still ventured into town to meet up at their once local watering hole. The landings made for fantastic places to while away the hours just watching the world (or square activities) go by, putting the world to rights and because you had to actually pass other people on the way to your front door, it made for getting to know neighbours - not like the unsociable and lack of community spirit scenario so often witnessed these days.
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    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Ha ha a slip of the 'tongue'.

    ---------- Post added at 11:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:21 AM ----------

    I know of people who moved to houses with front and back gardens whose new house was full of mod cons but not full of memories...
    The suburbs were a huge mistake - and not just in Liverpool. Strong fences make for no neighbours. No shops, no middle, no place, poor buildings - make it worse.


    "the Boot Estate in Norris Green, a now-soiled 1920s visionary transformation of farmland into a landscape of roundabouts and boulevards almost absent of cars, serving 1500 houses and gardens, and comparable to innovative housing areas of pre-1945 Germany, and more recent Danish, German and Netherlandish models. It needs now to be demolished due to technical obsolescence" Doug Clelland. EMAP 2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Ha ha a slip of the 'tongue'.

    ---------- Post added at 11:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:21 AM ----------

    I know of people who moved to houses with front and back gardens whose new house was full of mod cons but not full of memories. For the older generation moving out of the city centre where they'd never needed a bus never mind a taxi, being shut off from what they knew was a wrench to say the least. For some, the garden was too much to maintain and they still ventured into town to meet up at their once local watering hole. The landings made for fantastic places to while away the hours just watching the world (or square activities) go by, putting the world to rights and because you had to actually pass other people on the way to your front door, it made for getting to know neighbours - not like the unsociable and lack of community spirit scenario so often witnessed these days.
    You're spot on there Ged.

    Most people nowadays, me included, walk out their house straight into their car on the driveway and drive to, say, the supermarket.

    Years ago they would have had to walk down their street - meeting their neighbours along the way. Go to their local shops - meeting their neighbours. Possibly waiting at the bus stop - meeting their neighbours. Working in the local factory - meeting their neighbours. Going for a pint - meeting their neighbours etc.

    The community spirit for the majority disappeared a long time ago. Very sad.

    On a side note: does anyone have any photos of any of the renovated tenements?

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