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Housing for the poorest poor : slum clearance and rehousing in Liverpool, 1890-1918.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/1985
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Journal number1
Volume11
Number of pages19
Pages70-88
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In the period 1895–1918 Liverpool Corporation undertook an energetic programme of slum clearance and rehousing. Not only did the corporation build more dwelling units than any authority outside London, but the housing committee also intended to restrict most of these dwellings to tenants dispossessed by slum clearance schemes, and claimed that homes were being provided for the “poorest poor”. This paper examines the motives behind these schemes, and assesses the extent to which the council's claims were carried through in practice. Although corporation tenements were relatively cheap, the standard of accomodation was low. Most tenants did come from slum-clearnace areas, but by no means all the dispossessed were housed and the corporation was careful to select those tenants who could pay rents regularly and would conform to corporation standards of housekeeping and behaviour. Initial selection was reinforced by continued careful control of tenants, and eviction of those families who failed to conform to corporation regulations. Whilst some members of the housing committe probably wished to provide genuinely low-cost housing for the poor, ideological and financial constraints made this impossible. The corporation built and managed its property on the same principles as the private sector and effectively provided homes for a working-class elite in the period before 1918.