Slum clearances without the Socialism” – Owen Hatherley


I was reading the Guardian online today. This to be specific. Building affordable homes for rent is more vital than new roads then in the comments I found this . . .

Myra Fuller Dikericay

If you look at towns such as Burnley and Blackburn, the infrastructure is already there. 1,000s of two up/two downs have been bulldozed in recent years; some have been replaced by new housing however roads bounded by knee rails are all that’s left of others.

. . . and opened Google Earth. I found nothing in Burnley but then in Blackburn, this.

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Aberfan remembered III

October 29th, 2016


On the evening of October 21st 2016 I drove from Merthyr to Cardiff to hear the Aberfan Memorial Lectures by five members of the London Geological Society. My recordings of the talks are linked below, split into the relevant parts:-

Introduction by Paul Maliphant -– Development and Projects Director, Mott MacDonald Ltd

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Aberfan remembered II

October 24th, 2016


The morning of Friday 21st October 2016 arrived cold, crisp, clear and sunny. I drove from Merthyr Tydfil via the nearby village of Troed-y-rhiw to a busy Aberfan already filling with cars and parked on a steep street before walking quickly up to the cemetery for the 0915 memorial service. I was handed the leaflet below on approaching the memorial area. (see footnote)


Despite the chill in the air, as the morning wore on the sun’s warmth won through and before long it was a lovely morning up on the hillside on this sad occasion.

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Aberfan remembered

October 21st, 2016


“Blame for the disaster rests upon the National Coal Board” – Inquiry

“Chairman . . .

Could anybody before Tip 7 started — not necessarily a surveyor or an engineer or anything of that kind — could I walking up that mountainside before Tip 7 began fail firstly to see that there was a stream on the land which later became covered by Tip 7? If I used my eyes at all, could I possibly fail to see it?

A. – You could not fail to see it, my lord, no.

Q. – What about the spring you have been referring to? Could a lawyer, with no knowledge of these expert matters at all, taking a country walk up that mountainside, fail to see the place of the spring you have spoken of, or (if the weather was dry) that there was a place where in wetter weather a spring probably ran — could you fail to see that?

A. – He could not fail to see it, my lord, no.

Q. – Those are the stream and the spring, we understand, you tell us later on were covered by Tip 7?

A. – Yes, my lord.”

Paragraph 98 – Evidence of the slinger, Mr. D. B. Jones

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drawingofficeHigh Rise Dreams

A good article from the 11th in the AJ which makes good if uncomfortable reading for those of us who remember the years before it was all dismantled.

The biggest impact on the profession was the closure of the vast majority of public sector architect departments. In-house council teams had employed thousands of architects across the country.

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The issue of estate regeneration has not gone away, it continues apace and it has been my privilege over the last few years to meet people actively involved in the struggle to keep council tenants in place against the rapacious demands of unscrupulous politicians and boroughs so desperate for cash they sell public land from under the homes of council tenants for the benefit of wealthier incomers.


In recent weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting the residents of and walking around a small estate in South London which is itself now under threat but not withstanding this there is a determined and well informed body of people ready and willing to protect their interests.

It has been a pleasure to devote time and energy to researching and writing up the story of Cressingham Gardens – a village within a city and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading what is my 300th article in four years.

A considered look at artistic composition.

a) a winding path, brook, river or canal which leads the eye into the distance.

Stonebridge Park estate

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This is not intended to be an article, just as a series of links about an interesting architect.

“The production of high-rise council flats was at its height in the 1960s when AW Cleeve Barr, who has died at the age of 89, rose to be the most powerful housing architect in British government service.

As such he fought, but failed, to control the proliferation of contractor-led housing systems, and his reputation was tarnished by public reaction after the collapse in 1968 of Ronan Point. A technocrat with an instinct for social justice and a streak of obstinacy, he had enthusiasms that belied his puritan convictions.”

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“A ghastly and unforseen programme of gentrification undertaken with the excuse of creating mixed communities


* I have been asked by a student of architecture . . .

I want to know what Single Aspect thinks makes a good design for mass housing. Is it a 24h concierge service?

The knowledge base on which this article builds may be found in the two films High Rise Dreams and Homes for Heroes with a more in depth look over two hours in the magnificent City of Towers.

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Today while searching for details of a programme recorded on cassette over twenty years ago I came across the World Service Radio Archive prototype. It is necessary to sign in but having done so you will be treated to a small archive to search, which is available to hear, and some of which is possible to download with a little manipulation.

On reaching the page of interest you can listen to the programme by clicking the arrow provided, and in addition if you right click the page to View Source and then search for mp3 you can right click the link and Save As thus downloading the programme to your computer.

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