If you want know all the reasons why the present housing bill will mean the end of council housing then read this.

Where Will We Live?

. . . and other articles on the same blog.

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If you missed history in school as I did through unfortunate timetable choices there is a way to catch up in short order thanks to a wonderful programme broadcast overnight for schools some years ago. I’ve watched it several times over the years and never cease to wonder at how much he packs into two hours and how well he covers the subject.

English Social History – Andrew Chater – BBC2 – DEAD LINK

It’s on YouTube divided into sections, my upload is simply the whole programme in one go albeit missing a few seconds from the beginning.

If you prefer to watch it on the original website, it’s here:-

History of Britain

Links valid two weeks according to sendGB although New Town Home Town is hosted by the BBC.

City of Towers – Christopher Booker

City of Towers – Youtube – no sound

Three Streets in the Country – Michael Frayn and Dennis Marks

Three Streets in the Country – Youtube

New Town Home Town – Colin Ward

New Town Home Town – 1/5 hosted by the BBC

Architecture for Everyman – Patrick Nuttgens

The Country and the City – Raymond Williams

The Country and the City – Youtube

“Back in 1979, I made a BBC documentary called City of Towers, charting how the futuristic dreams crystallised in the Twenties by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier had led to the high-rise nightmare that blighted Britain’s cities in the Sixties. The film won some acclaim – not least, surprisingly, from some of the modern architects whose work it had featured, from Maxwell Fry to Richard Seifert, creator of the Centre Point tower.”

“But when, some years later, there were calls for the programme to be repeated, Mr Yentob startled a BBC meeting by expostulating that the film would only ever be shown again “over my dead body”.”


Five years ago I wrote “Why sink estates exist” in despair at the course right to buy had taken and the growth of buy to let mortgages.  Now Stephen Farrall of the University of Sheffield has written a similar piece only based on data rather than hearsay. I’ve reproduced it here with permission under the Creative Commons Licence.  The article was originally published on The Conversation.

Thatcher helped people to buy their own homes – but the poorest paid the price

Stephen Farrall, University of Sheffield

It has been 25 years since Margaret Thatcher gave her final, tearful speech as prime minister of the UK on the steps of Downing Street. In the decades since, we’ve had time to get to grips with the legacy left behind by one of the most polarising figures in British politics. Cutting through the visceral, ideological storm she left in her wake has been no easy task, and our research has found that the story told by the data is more complex than we could have imagined.

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Five years ago I attended Progressive London 2010 at which Karen Buck was speaking, among others.  She identified then the problems that will come to pass with the Governments recent attack on tenure.

Karen Buck was superb with a long talk about the possible loss of secure tenure of council tenants should a Conservative Government be elected and implement the plans outlined by Localis in Principles their now infamous document on Tory proposals for council housing.

She drew a parallel with the experiences of black migrants from the American South coming to Chicago in the 1940s and becoming the victims of slum landlords while suffering the indignities of being “frequent movers”, people unable to take their place in society for want of a stable home address. [The Promised Land – Nicholas Lemann] Karen put forward the view that in the absence of secure tenure and having only an AST with two months to quit, council tenants would become a transient population, unlikely to be registered with a GP, their children changing schools, unlikely to be on the electoral register and to vote. She pointed out that Conservative think council tenants are second class citizens.

Karen Buck is always worth listening to about housing.

Council tenants lose lifetime right to live in property – The Guardian

UPDATE 27th April

Dan Cruickshank: At Home with the British  (3 x 60′)
– Dan Cruickshank takes an up-close-and-personal look at the place we are all familiar with but rarely stop to question – our home. Why are those stairs at that angle? Why is the kitchen at the back of the house? Why are some houses made of wattle and daub, and some of brick? And why do some live in a terrace and some in a flat? How did the British home end up looking the way it does – and why? – See more at: at-home-with-the-british-bbc4/

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DeTrafford estates Roof gardens development has started on site in Manchester.


Click photo for Skyscraper City forum and larger version of photo.

My original article here

Nearly three months ago I drove to Norwich to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak. It was inspiring and in looking for a way to write up what I’d heard I searched on line for other reviews and found this.

Corbyn, on the other hand, may turn out unelectable. But he will at least spend four and a half years at the despatch box every week, speaking in a calm and measured voice about the “common sense” he represents – why can’t we build more houses? Why isn’t everyone equally entitled to an education? Or a job that pays? Or a decent childhood? Cameron will give him answers that reflect the knotty, compromised reality. But all people will hear will be Corbyn’s resoundingly simple questions. It’s The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights going head-to-head with a badly-translated MBA handbook.


Today at #PMQs Jeremy Corbyn asked David Cameron the same question six times in different ways and received in turn six different answers, not one of which was an answer to the question asked.



At Last – Etta James

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Click image for audio and see Tweet


If you want to skip the introductions the interview proper starts at 9m20s in.

Heard through @municipaldreams