Virtual event via Zoom Wholesome Dwellings - Virtual Talk with author Dr. Malcolm Graham - Wednesday 20 October - 5pm
Join local author and former head of Oxfordshire Studies, Dr Malcolm Graham in a virtual talk from his book Wholesome Dwellings: Housing Need in Oxford and the Municipal Response, 1800-1939.
A shortage of affordable new housing, builders choosing to build larger, more profitable houses, and a diminishing stock of cheap houses for rent. All this sounds very familiar today, but at the end of the Great War, scarcely any houses had been built for four years and there was political pressure to build ‘Homes for Heroes’, impelled to a degree by fear of revolution. Council housing, supported by central government funding, was the chosen solution in 1919, and this study examines the consequences in Oxford, then a university city on the cusp of change.
Behind the city’s Dreaming Spires image, housing for the working population was already in short supply. Dr Graham examines the uneasy partnership between the City Council and Whitehall which led to the building of over 3,000 council houses in Oxford between the Wars. The provision of these ‘wholesome dwellings’ was a substantial, and lasting, achievement, but private builders were in fact catering for most housing need in and around the city by the 1930s. The notorious Cutteslowe Walls, built to exclude council tenants from an adjoining private estate, reflected the way in which the growing city was being socially segregated. Dr Graham provides a fascinating insight into how modern Oxford evolved away from the university buildings and college quadrangles for which the city is internationally renowned.
Members £5 / Non-members £10