THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s


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Reconstruction

There was a similar, but less rigid, division between working women who wore scarves on their heads and middle- class women who wore hats. Class divisions were also apparent in the educational system and not just in the divide between state schools which taught the great majority and private schools which catered for a wealthy minority. Most children went to secondary modern schools which they left, at the age of fifteen, with few or no qualifications.

Those who went to grammar schools stayed on a little longer and got qualifications, but few went on to higher education. Only a small proportion of young people went to university and most were middle-class males who had often been privately educated.

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In far fewer women were in paid employment than today. Women were generally not expected to have proper careers, but to seek short-term employment before they married and had children. After the war, many young women gave up paid work and raised a family at home. They benefited from some labour-saving electrical appliances like washing machines and vacuum cleaners, but still spent much of their time on domestic chores like cooking, washing and cleaning. Scrubbing and polishing were de rigueur and entailed much physical energy.

Open fires were still the standard form of residential heating and required regular attention.

Few homes had a refrigerator, so fresh products were regularly obtained from local shops or market stalls. Most shops were family businesses and traditional in character.

The butcher, for example, wore a straw hat and a striped apron, used a thick wooden chopping block and sprinkled sawdust on the floor. The local shopping parade usually included a butcher, a baker, a grocer, a greengrocer, a confectioner and an ironmonger, so there was little necessity to go further afield for everyday purchases. The health of the nation was much better in than it had been before. Full employment ensured that people were better fed than in the s, while the young actually benefited from the lack of fat during the war. The creation of the free National Health Service, in , improved the quality of medical care, especially for the elderly, women and the poor, but the cost of the new system soon led to the introduction of charges for dentistry and prescriptions.

The improvement in national health also owed much to the introduction of antibiotics which gradually eradicated many diseases, like tuberculosis, which had been major killers. However, the incidence of poliomyelitis increased until and many children were disabled by it before a vaccine was developed. There was also a rapid increase in cancer, strokes and especially heart disease: the three major killers of Britons in the later twentieth century.

Public attitudes towards sex and marriage still remained strongly conservative. Abortions were illegal, so back street practioners flourished. Illegitmacy rates were far lower than today, partly because there was still a social stigma attached to single mothers and their offspring.

Consequently unwanted babies were often given away for adoption or sent to institutions, either in Britain or in the Empire. The divorce rate had increased sharply in the s — because of the war and a relaxation of the law — but in it was still less than a fifth of that today. Sexual relations were generally much more covert than today and there was virtually no formal sex education either for children or for adults. Nevertheless the attraction of sex was clearly apparent both in advertising especially for films, books and clothes and on the streets where prostitutes openly solicited for business until the Street Offences Act.

Those whose sexual behaviour deviated from the heterosexual norm had to adopt a low profile for fear of legal prosecution or social persecution. The recreations of the British people in were generally more simple and more localised than they are today. Many older or poorer people were content to chat with their neighbours, walk the dog or have a pint at the local.

Pubs had much more limited opening times than today, especially on Sundays, when shops were also shut and there were no commercial sporting fixtures. Sunday was still essentially Victorian in character — a day for a large family dinner, quiet relaxation and religious worship.

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Church attendance, though lower than before the war, remained high, particularly with Catholics, the young and the elderly. On Saturday nights unmarried young adults often patronised the local dance hall or cinema, but few went further afield for entertainment. Many children and teenagers belonged to voluntary associations like the Scouts and Guides, the Boys Brigade and church groups. They provided practical skills, a code of morality and inexpensive outings and holidays. Most schools had been built in the late Victorian period and had changed little since then. Out of school, children played in the streets, rather than in their overcrowded homes.

They liked simple games like hopscotch, marbles and conkers, as well as football and cricket. On their feet they wore short or long socks with shoes, sandals or canvas plimsolls. Most children walked to school and, like their parents, used public transport for longer journeys. On the roads, one out of every three vehicles was a bus or lorry. In the cities, worn out trams were being replaced by electric trolleybuses and petrol buses, which provided cheap and frequent services. Consequently horse dung and water troughs were still common sights. Car sales were boosted by the end of petrol rationing in , but there was still only one car per sixteen people.

Few families could afford a car, so a motorbike with a sidecar was a popular and cheaper alternative. Bicycles were widely used, both for short journeys to work or shop and for long distance recreation. Most people used trains for long journeys.

The railway network reached to almost every part of the country for most branch lines were still in operation. Nationalisation of the railways in had ended internal competition, but the three class fare system was preserved along with exclusive luxury trains on prestige routes. The annual family holiday was generally taken by rail — even on rails in the case of camping coaches. Holidays with pay were now supported by legislation and about half the population spent a holiday by the sea.

Visit the Clerkenwell neighbourhood page. The Cleverly site was purchased in with money that Peabody received from an anonymous donor. The first dwellings, designed by Victor Wilkins, were completed in and named after the banker William Cleverly Alexander. Cleverly set new standards for social housing because the estate was spacious, had separate bathrooms and a wired-in playground. The estate suffered from considerable bomb damage in World War II.

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1930 Census: Enumerator Instructions

Notably, on 14 February a V2 rocket fell and killed 30 people on the estate. The estate was added to after the war with the completion of Blakenham Court named after Lord Blakenham, a former Chair of the Governors. In Cleverly was selected to participate in the Natural Estates project that aims to empower residents to actively shape and improve the green spaces on their doorstep.

The whole estate has been designated a conservation area by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.


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Visit the Cleverly neighbourhood page. It has nine blocks and the first to be built, Datchet House, was completed by The Crown Lands Commissioners — later to become the Crown Estate — in the late s.

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The allotments remain on the estate to this day. There are 43 allotments on the estate, tended by residents who belong to the Cumberland Basin Horticultural Society. They grow a wide range of produce, shrubs, herbs and flowers on these allotments, the most central in London. A horticultural show is held on the estate each year and prizes are awarded for the best flowers and vegetables. The cups were previously donated by The Crown Estate Commissioners but these are now awarded by Peabody. Visit the Cumberland Market neighbourhood page.

The site for Dalgarno Gardens was acquired in and its design was provided by architect Victor Wilkins. The lease granted to Peabody by the local authority will not expire until Despite suffering damage from a landmine in the estate was relatively fortunate during the devastation of the Second World War. Like other flats dating from the s, there were no separate bathrooms and none were installed until renovations in the s. It was during this time that some pairs of blocks were linked by extending the balconies, enabling these blocks to be provided with a lift.

In Block T was converted to provide sheltered accommodation. Visit the Dalgarno Gardens neighbourhood page. Fulham estate in Lillie Road was opened in Previously the land was occupied by Hermitage Lodge, a large house with extensive gardens once owned by Sir John Lillie. The estate provided flats, with a separate bathhouse and a laundry building.

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The highest rent payable was seven shillings 35p per week for a four room flat. Two rooms in the basement of one block were occupied by a social club, where residents could play billiards, darts, draughts and cards. Visit the Lillie Road neighbourhood page. Hammersmith estate, which opened in , covers almost six acres of land. There are records going back to of the land being used for property.

THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s
THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s
THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s
THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s
THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s
THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s
THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s THE WORKING-CLASS OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSE OF THE 1930s

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