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Housing : Birmingham Council Municipal Housing

J

Jacqueline

Guest
Thanks for all your replies to my post. To explain i do not regret not buying my house but i DO regret the attitude of the council and the amount of red tape...or is it lack of interest? ::)

When i was in the larger house i asked them to give me a transfer to a smaller property. After much form filling i received a reply saying i did not have enough points to move. WHAT A JOKE!! I was offering a four bed house to exchange to a two bed and they did not want to know. I finally found my own exchange with a family with two children. At first they said the exchange family did not have enough children. ::) Yet it was ok for two people to live there??? When they finally agreed i was told i should have asked for a transfer as they would have been only too happy to help. THE RIGHT HAND DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THE LEFT HAND IS DOING IT SEEMS.

I also thought these purchase/sale prices of my parents homes cost over the years might be of interest [found a bunch of old documents and sale tranfere's]

These are for private three bedroomed houses over the years.

Purchase - Sept 1946 - a three bed recently built semi in Kings Heath......£750.00
Sale - 1954 - a three bed vVictorianterraced house in Kings Heath......£1,350
Purchase - 1954 - a three bed semi in Stirchley £1,800
Sale - 1973 - same three bed semi in Stirchley £7,000
Purchase - 1973 - two bedroomed first floor maisonette Kings Heath £9,950
Sale - 1977 - same two bed maisonette £9.000
Purchase - 1977 - two bed ground floor maisonette Kings Heath £9,750

The ground floor maisonette is now worth between 100k and 125k. Interesting the market seemed stagnant in the four years in the 70's.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
I was looking at one of the aerial views on the forum of Kingstanding, fascinated by the road layout and then remembering that there were similar layouts in those parts of the City that we never visited unless it was to visit a distant relative and it led me to wonder how many estates were built and what was the total number of houses actually completed before WWII and were any estates delayed and needed to be completed after the war which led me to wonder as there were still back to backs after the war, where did the people who moved into Kingstanding, Pype Hayes or Weoley Castle etc come from? I know it will need to be a very big postcard for all those answers, but I am certain that many of you will have the answers.

Bob
 

devonjim

master brummie
Bob, A little light reading that may help your search.
I lived in a series of council estates from 1940-1975.
Tyseley 1940-48 Estate built around 1911.
Garretts Green 1948-68. Built 1948. A lot of the dads were ex WW2 military, don't remember the families having been from any particular area.
Acock's Green 1968-75 a privately owned ex council house.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Bob, A little light reading that may help your search.
I lived in a series of council estates from 1940-1975.
Tyseley 1940-48 Estate built around 1911.
Garretts Green 1948-68. Built 1948. A lot of the dads were ex WW2 military, don't remember the families having been from any particular area.
Acock's Green 1968-75 a privately owned ex council house.
Many Thanks

Bob
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Greenwood Place off Finchley Road Kingstanding celebrated the +100k (I cannot remember the exact number) council houses built. Apparently, they had a big party on the island with all the great and the good in attendance.

The key was presented to the new tenant on a velvet cushion by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

Apparently this one house has a few extra posh fittings than all the other houses. The council came round a week later and swapped the chrome taps back to brass.

At its peak, the council owned over 140k houses by the mid 80’s
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Greenwood Place off Finchley Road Kingstanding celebrated the +100k (I cannot remember the exact number) council houses built. Apparently, they had a big party on the island with all the great and the good in attendance.

The key was presented to the new tenant on a velvet cushion by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

Apparently this one house has a few extra posh fittings than all the other houses. The council came round a week later and swapped the chrome taps back to brass.

At its peak, the council owned over 140k houses by the mid 80’s
Thank you 140k that is an awfully big number when you think about things like maintenance, rent collection &etc
Bob
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Bob, I have a feeling Birmingham had the largest social housing stock in Europe, there was a maintenance team of around 1,500 staff and manual operatives. It took on 90 apprentices each year, employing and training 300 at any one time. Then of course you had the back-office staff too.

Interestingly, as housing stock started to fall due to right to buy and government preventing the construction of new stock in 1984 the number of the back-office staff grew.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
I was looking at one of the aerial views on the forum of Kingstanding, fascinated by the road layout and then remembering that there were similar layouts in those parts of the City that we never visited unless it was to visit a distant relative and it led me to wonder how many estates were built and what was the total number of houses actually completed before WWII and were any estates delayed and needed to be completed after the war which led me to wonder as there were still back to backs after the war, where did the people who moved into Kingstanding, Pype Hayes or Weoley Castle etc come from? I know it will need to be a very big postcard for all those answers, but I am certain that many of you will have the answers.

Bob
Bob, if we can get some answers it will be very revealing! Excellent questions..
 

devonjim

master brummie
I appreciate that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing etc. But as I understand it the post war explosion in council house building was possible because of the 1944 Blitz and Blight Act which enabled Birmingham to compulsory purchase vast tracts of back to back housing, the programmed maintenance or clearance of which enabled the building of the post WW2 estates.
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
Kingstanding, where I was born, was started in the 1920s, to the right of Kingstanding Road (outward bound) was mostly council developed to be let, to the left it was privately developed and built for sale, although there was some cross over between both, my first house in Birdbrook Road was leasehold when I bought it, the freeholder was the National Coal Board pension fund to whom we had to pay an annual ground rent.

My parents moved into Hurlingham Road in January 1933 after living in 'digs' in Aston from the time they married in July 1930.

The houses we lived in were designed in collaboration with Cadburys, they were nicknamed Nig-Nog houses from a Cadburys advertising cartoon running at the time.

Some of the houses north of there towards the Pheasey Estate were started but not finished when the war came.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
A significant about of Birmingham social houses was built before WWII by a Direct Labour scheme. I don’t know anything about the 1944 Blitz and Blight Act, but know that a large number of system built houses were constructed towards and after the end of WWII, which is a subject all in itself.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
A significant about of Birmingham social houses was built before WWII by a Direct Labour scheme. I don’t know anything about the 1944 Blitz and Blight Act, but know that a large number of system built houses were constructed towards and after the end of WWII, which is a subject all in itself.
The information that is coming is fascinating, interesting and as usual in keeping with the abilities of forum members, were the system built houses what I came to know as Cornish units when I moved to Plymouth, concrete based, difficult to explain unless you have seen them, I will try to find a picture or definition as soon as I can. But all this has now given rise to another question, how many estates did the City build? and where were they?
Eric
Thank you for your information, I did not realise they went back to the 1920s, I thought they were a result of the great depression.
Bob
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
The council had a more or less continuous house building programme right up until 1984. They used their own labour until the late 60’s as a direct labour organisation. They also built widely across the city and used up a lot of sites, some quite small like the Finsbury Road development in Erdington and another at Kents Moat
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
These Cornish Units are in the side road adjacent to my front garden.
Lots of them around here, they've been clad with fake brick pattern plastic insulation over the concrete walls Cornish.JPGin recent years.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Event in Weoley Castle
In 1933, Neville Chamberlain opened Birmingham’s 40,000th post-WW1 council dwelling at 30, Hopstone Road on the Weoley Castle Estate.
index.php


The scene doesn't look too different today apart from uPVC windows and a wheely bin.
index.php

 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Separately, I have a question while it might be a little off topic, please indulge me.

When I left Brum I was 19 and owing or renting a house was so far away! The house we lived in on Radnor Rd Handswoth was rented, the owner was King Edwards Grammar School, that was 1962 and we had been there over 10 years.

How dis that work? The sense I have was that private ownership was not really available until later and there always seemed to be a long wait to get into council houses which we were never able to.

Any insight is appreciated...........
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Image result for cornish units1599576652063.jpeg

My expertise as a computer wizard continues unbounded, I only wanted one picture I got two and the offer of a thumbnail, anyway two pictures of an original post war Cornish Unit. Why Cornish? I understand that the first ones were made by Selleck, Nicholls and Williams who were a subsidiary of English China Clays (Now IMERYS and French owned). I cannot swear to this, but this was what came out of the Janners and cousin jacks when I was on the ground in Cornwall and uz wuz avin the crack about these and that and the good luck of being Cornish and living in Gods own county which of course was at the end of Gods Wonderful Railway. A lot of them suffered terribly with concrete cancer, others did not and remained habitable and were much loved by those who lived in them, there was a romantic sentimentalism the same as for the prefab. Did they appear in Birmingham? Did Birmingham sell of some of their leases?
Morturn
The direct labour system was in a way an early privatisation scheme was it not? An attempt by councils to cut back on heavy employee filled sections of the council to turn in a profit. Please correct me if I have got it wrong.
Bob
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
I always understood that direct labour just meant that work was done by the organization (council) concerned and not put out to outside contractors. The council had this long before attempts to privatise the work occurred
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Both Birmingham Council, a few other local councils and the Bournville Trust experimented with non-traditional house construction. Most of them involved the use of precast reinforced concrete structural members. Lots of the systems went under various trade names. The real aim was to bring down costs.



The Cornish type I house with the Mansard roof was built to that design to save cladding and again drive down costs, but I don’t recall seeing any in Birmingham. The social houses I know of with Mansard roofs were traditional construction.

There were of course some expensive disasters with concrete housing. My opinion of this is people thought of concrete as the wonder one size fits all solution to build everything, with very over simplistic methods.

Unfortunately, concrete is complex, and it does not like some of the poor-quality aggregates that were used and the way it was mixed on building sites. This misunderstanding of quality control caused lots of ongoing concrete problems, that often revolved around ongoing chemical reactions. We all know the stories of building collapsing built from high-alumina cements.

These premature failures gave system construction a bad name. Interestingly the BISF house (British steel framed house) were very good and quite few of them still stand today.

There were also the prefabs, however the companies who built prefabs were open about the expected life span, most of them exceeding it.

Bob, I am not sure what Birmingham did with the leases.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Both Birmingham Council, a few other local councils and the Bournville Trust experimented with non-traditional house construction. Most of them involved the use of precast reinforced concrete structural members. Lots of the systems went under various trade names. The real aim was to bring down costs.



The Cornish type I house with the Mansard roof was built to that design to save cladding and again drive down costs, but I don’t recall seeing any in Birmingham. The social houses I know of with Mansard roofs were traditional construction.

There were of course some expensive disasters with concrete housing. My opinion of this is people thought of concrete as the wonder one size fits all solution to build everything, with very over simplistic methods.

Unfortunately, concrete is complex, and it does not like some of the poor-quality aggregates that were used and the way it was mixed on building sites. This misunderstanding of quality control caused lots of ongoing concrete problems, that often revolved around ongoing chemical reactions. We all know the stories of building collapsing built from high-alumina cements.

These premature failures gave system construction a bad name. Interestingly the BISF house (British steel framed house) were very good and quite few of them still stand today.

There were also the prefabs, however the companies who built prefabs were open about the expected life span, most of them exceeding it.

Bob, I am not sure what Birmingham did with the leases.
Thank you for a very concise reply, I was involved in building 61 to 66 and at that time many naughty things were done with concrete including in a temperature -5deg C one winter putting anti-freeze in the mortar mix, until stopped by the Clerk of the Works. The strange thing is that a council house on a council estate was just that and never given another thought about the genesis of it, but it would appear that there is a whole history to be explored, but one thing that stands out is that they have lasted well and while 60s built blocks of flats are demolished the council house or ex council house goes on.
Mikejee
My knowledge of the DLO system is limited, but I always understood that it was a scheme to cut the costs by trimming the surplus workforce (I could enlarge on this but it relates to Devon not Birmingham and it might upset any mods because I went off theme) and attempting to cut the construction costs. But an interesting thought were any forum members involved in this side of the councils operations?
Again BHF members have answered a question, thank you all for your input.

Bob
 
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