Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 4. Primrose Bank and Crete Street Tower Blocks

Montrose House and Primrose House: Partington’s short lived twin towers, on opposite sides of Ashton Road

Montrose House, Oldham
Montrose House, Hathershaw: a black and white view of the tower block. Image © 1974 Paul Thorpe.

Throughout the United Kingdom, local authorities were given incentives to build taller tower blocks for slum clearance schemes. As well as heights, there were incentives to adopt experimental building systems. For example: Sectra, Bison, and Jespersen. As well as speeding up the slum clearance schemes, a lot of builders made a packet. Continue reading “Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 4. Primrose Bank and Crete Street Tower Blocks”

Down Our Streets #2: Along Self Aggrandisement Avenue

Two streets named after building systems

Every town centre has a number of streets named after local councillors, MPs and landmarks. Some housing estates have streets named after picturesque locations or battles (for instance, Tintern or Gallipoli). Continue reading “Down Our Streets #2: Along Self Aggrandisement Avenue”

Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 3. Ashfield Valley, Rochdale

The foolish man built his house upon the marsh…

Ashfield Valley
One of the twenty-six blocks which made up the Ashfield Valley estate. Photograph: © 1983 Banksider.

If you visited Rochdale in the mid to late 1970s and had an interest in modernist and brutalist architecture, you were in for a treat. As well as its soon to be demolished bus station, you could place its brown clad shopping centre. You knew you entered the Lancashire town after seeing the Seven Sisters tower blocks in Spotland. Continue reading “Reality Estates That The Heroes Got: 3. Ashfield Valley, Rochdale”

Cuts Scene Investigation: The Bedroom Tax Explained

A plain English guide on how the Bedroom Tax ‘works’

Wellington Parade, Dukinfield
Tenants in Housing Association and former municipal housing stock claiming Housing Benefit will be hit by the bedroom tax. Seen here is the southern end of Wellington Parade, which runs through the middle of Dukinfield Central housing estate.

From Easter Monday [01 April] this year, there will be fundamental changes made to Housing Benefit. Tenants in social housing will be deducted 14% or 25% from their Housing Benefit if they have one or more spare bedrooms. Dubbed as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, this would not only hit tenants in the pocket, but also in other ways, such as their right to affordable housing or stable family life. In a nutshell, the Bedroom Tax is a Mansion Tax for the poor! Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: The Bedroom Tax Explained”

Reality Estates That the Heroes Got #2: Pearly Bank Flats, Sholver, Oldham

Another flawed yet well meaning housing estate in Oldham

By the end of the 1960s, Oldham was pretty much a guinea pig for futuristic housing estates using factory built parts. At that time, it assumed a space age air about itself, the epitome of a mill town rising from its Victorian past as concrete supplanted red brick. Its housing schemes in Fitton Hill and Limeside were well received, so much so that recent slum clearance and the introduction of proprietary building systems resulted in continued expansion.

Continue reading “Reality Estates That the Heroes Got #2: Pearly Bank Flats, Sholver, Oldham”

Reality Estates That the Heroes Got: St Mary’s Estate, Oldham

The first of a new series on East of the M60 about flawed yet well meaning housing estates

In 2012, it shames me to think that social housing contracts have reached an all time low – last year saw a 99% drop on 2010 figures. Some time in the 1960s, Labour and Conservative (yes, you did read that right, Conservative) councils and governments prided themselves on the amount of council houses. The start of the 1960s saw modernism adopted en masse as tower blocks sprouted in and around towns. As concrete supplanted bricks and terraces, the white heat of building technology was met with initial praise.

Continue reading “Reality Estates That the Heroes Got: St Mary’s Estate, Oldham”