The Saffron Lane Estate, Leicester I: ‘moving into paradise’

Another excellent report from Municipal dreams on the value of Council Housing in a period when this Government is out to destroy it. Laurence

Municipal Dreams

Back in the day, some people called the Saffron Lane Estate in Leicester ‘Candletown’.  Others called it the ‘Conks Estate’ which wasn’t meant kindly.  To understand these nicknames is to uncover the rich history of the Estate – the city’s first large-scale interwar housing scheme – and its community.

Aerial view of the Saffron Lane Estate, 1927 Aerial view of the Saffron Lane Estate, 1927

Leicester had grown rapidly in the later nineteenth century and had, for the most part, prospered but that growth – and the exigencies of war – had led by 1919 to severe pressures on housing.  The Council estimated it needed to build 1500 homes in the next four years to satisfy demand.   In fact, the City took seven years to build just 746 new homes under the 1919 Housing Act.

The Health Committee didn’t pull its punches, expressing its ‘increasing alarm and grave concern’ at the ‘overcrowding existing in the dwelling houses in…

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