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Inner City High Rise Living



In the late 19th century, working-class neighbourhoods and communities were often represented as ‘rough’, substandard, and marginal. Housing conditions were poor and the need for council housing was great. Many people demanded it vociferously, agreeing with the 1945 Labour government that their role in winning the war entitled them to state help with housing.

Everton 1970


Lineside Road Belle Vale prefabs 1953
In Liverpool, ordinary working people squatted in empty buildings in protest at ongoing homelessness or poor accommodation in blitzed streets. Many people were housed in ‘prefabs’ (temporary) bungalows erected in the late 1940s that lasted for decades. In some areas, like Liverpool’s Belle Vale, the prefabs proved surprisingly popular. Incredibly, despite their temporary status they were able to provide better housing than most of the city’s ‘slum landlords’. Councils like Liverpool provided funding and support, and the inhabitants were keen to make the most of this new opportunity and kept their houses and gardens in immaculate condition if they could.


Slum clearance

Many people continued to live in poor housing conditions well into the 1960s and beyond, though. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that wholesale ‘slum clearance’ took place in Liverpool but this also proved unpopular. Liverpool residents would have preferred to be rehoused in their own inner-city neighbourhood, rather than being moved onto vast council estates on the city’s outskirts like Speke, Skelmersdale and Netherley. These estates were miles away from work, shops and friends. In an attempt to resolve the problem tower blocks were built but they posed problems for older people or those with young children, particularly when the lifts were out of order which was more often than not.

In the early 1970s, as government investment in council housing began to decline so did the conditions in these neighbourhoods. Lifts, concrete walkways, and public spaces weren’t well maintained. Residents became sick of council rules and the lack of space for their children to play in tower block flats. the concept of council high rise flats was criticised in later years for creating poor quality badly built housing and high-density estates and many of the new estates had become hard to let and hard to live in by the 1970s. In reality many of the flats were built at low cost on run-down inner city areas or alternatively on remote low cost suburban sites, some quickly gaining a poor reputation. One example is the Netherley Estate in Liverpool. Begun in late 1960s, the estate was built to house people moving from the south dock area - the Dingle. From the start the estate was poorly located with no local employment and difficult and poor transport to the city centre. Many of the high rise flats in the area were later demolished.

Over 60 tower blocks were built in the city between 1956 and 1974, providing more than 5,500 homes. In the early 1990s Housing Action Trusts were set up across the country to address this decline. Liverpool HAT (Housing Area Trust) was the largest and was given 12 years and £260m of government money to create sustainable housing and communities and bring in private finance. Following a major consultation exercise with tenants in all blocks it was decided to refurbish 13 of them, with 54 to be demolished and new homes built on their footprints for the tenants.

Listed below are a small selection of the tower blocks that were found around inner city Liverpool with some details about their construction and demolition.


Logan Towers 1972

Logan Towers, Athol Street, Vauxhall. Liverpool 5 was a 22 storey tower block. Logan Towers was approved in 1964 and contains 172 flats. When built, it was the world's tallest block of pre-fabricated flats. Completed in 1966, it was 66 metres tall. It has since been demolished. It was named after local MP David Logan and was opened on 15 July, 1966.

St Georges Heights, 1982

St George's Heights was a 22 storey tower block approved in 1964 and contained 176 flats. Completed in 1966, it was 66 metres tall. It has since been demolished.
St. George's Heights was the highest of all the tower blocks in Liverpool because of the elevated starting position on St. George's Hill. Because of the slope, it was dismantled rather than destroyed through a controlled explosion.



Garibaldi House

Cavour House was a 14 storey tower block. Completed in 1961, it was 41 metres tall. It has since been demolished.


Cavour House, Garibaldi House, Mazzini House,
Everton, 1982

Garibaldi House was a 14 storey tower. Completed in 1961, it was 41 metres tall. It has since been demolished.

Mazzini House was a 14 storey tower. Completed in 1961, it was 41 metres tall. It has since been demolished.

View of Corinth and Edinburgh Towers

Corinth Tower was a 22 storey tower block in Everton approved in 1964 and contained 176 flats. Completed in 1967, it was 66 metres tall but was demolished by controlled explosion on May 15, 2005.

Edinburgh Tower was a 14 storey tower block on Netherfield Road. Completed in 1968, it was 41 metres tall. It was demolished in 2003.

Edinburgh, Ellison and Seacombe Towers,
Netherfield Road.
Seacombe Tower was a 14 storey tower block on Netherfield Road North in. Completed in 1968, it was 41 metres tall. It has since been demolished.


Haigh Heights, Canterbury Heights and Crosbie Heights,

Haigh Heights, Canterbury Heights and Crosbie Heights, were tower blocks on William Henry. Completed in 1966, they were 44 metres tall. They were also known as The Piggeries. They are typical of many blocks of flats that were built from large, pre-cast concrete panels that were bolted together on site with little attention to design, amenities or landscaping. Demolished in the 1990s.

Sheehan House, Boundary Street

Sheehan Heights was a 14 storey tower block on Boundary. Completed in 1963, it was 41 metres tall. It has since been demolished. It was built by W. Thornton.








Sources

Liverpool Records Office
Liverpool Central Library

© Bob Edwards, Liverpool Picturebook
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