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Urban housing


Housing after World War Two

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There was a shortage of housing in Britain after World War Two. Many houses had been destroyed by bombing. Large numbers of slums remained a problem. The birth rate had risen after the war had ended and families required homes.

Prefabricated Houses

Sections of houses were made in factories and were reassembled on building sites. These houses were quick to erect and provided good facilities such as bathrooms and gardens. These houses were meant to be a temporary solution to the problem of housing shortages but many remained after 40 years.

The New Towns Act 1946

New towns were introduced to deal with the problem of overcrowded city centres. 14 new towns were planned in the 1940s and another 14 built in the 1960s. New towns contained a variety of house types. Shops, schools and leisure facilities were within easy reach. New towns were built in Scotland at Cumbernauld, Glenrothes, Livingston, East Kilbride and Irvine.

Council housing

900,000 slums were cleared in the 1950s and 1960s. 2.5 million people were re-housed. Large estates of council houses were built on the edge of towns and cities. Facilities were poor on housing estates and many suffered from vandalism and violent crime. High rise tower blocks were built in inner city areas to house people who had lived in slum housing. Many people found it difficult to live in high rise tower blocks and many were demolished after a few years.

Private ownership

Private ownership of housing increased in the years after 1945. Higher wages meant that more people could now afford to buy their own homes. Mortgages were easier to arrange. The Conservative government in the 1980s encouraged local councils to sell council homes to tenants who wanted to buy them. By 1984 half of the homes in Britain were owned privately.



Woman in a post war slum.

Class Clips

Video clip about the poor standard of living many people faced in post-war Scotland


People dancing at a post-war party.

Class Clips

How the post war boom increased national prosperity

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