We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Condemned to die: housing action and social justice South West Durham 1949-1979

Snowdon, R. (1979) Condemned to die: housing action and social justice South West Durham 1949-1979. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The Thesis is a retrospective examination of housing action consequences and effectiveness in the Bishop Auckland Area, by the author who was involved with the initiation and execution of repair, improvement, closure and demolition of houses in the private sector, carried out within the framework of Durham County Council's controversial Settlement Policy. The local, post-war, housing policy revolved around cherished concepts, that a Development Plan would lead to the "Good Life"; slum clearance processes were designed to protect people from themselves; and relocating residents from outdated villages to modern semi-detached estates heralded a new beginning. The irony of a working class political machine, over which the population had virtually no influence, imposing a policy which destroyed working class life styles is noted, together with the creation of a bitter and inflexible climate which nurtured an unintended but resolute opposition and resulted in a change of political control at local level. Focus is on Witton Park, the devastated archetype Category 'D' village, a victim of prejudice and time seemingly forever to bear a slum label as a shrine to the County Development Plan. A comparison is made with the villages of Binchester, Escomb and Eldon Lane/Coundon Grange also affected by renewal policies. It is contended that undue attention was paid by bureaucracy to a distorted image of slum housing which resulted in extensive and excessive demolition with consequential individual and collective injustice; and that an almost exclusive over emphasis on physical aspects destroyed the territorial basis of community life, and ignored people and their aspirations. Direction altered, belatedly, in the late 1960s after nearly 2,300 houses had been demolished. The newer policy of gradual renewal rather than total clearance was influenced by political change, more enlightened attitudes and the availability of wider powers. A synopsis of relevant housing legislation from I868 to 1979 is provided by the Appendix.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1979
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:40

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter