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Flats versus houses - 1949 debate

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DBC
Nottinghamshire
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1 of 3  Sun 23rd Dec 2012 5:28pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:170

I am reading a book about the late 1940's (Smoke In The Valley : Austerity Britain 1948-51 by David Kynaston) and have come across a small article from the Coventry Evening Telegraph about Donald Gibson and the proposed new estates in Coventry:- "On the question of lay-out, Mr Gibson said : 'I do not see why there should be any front gardens, for most people do not seem prepared to devote enough time to them. The street is the concern of the whole city, and these gardens destroy its appearance' . He considered there should be no gates or fences and that central greens should be the responsibility of the Baths and Parks Committee. The city should go into flats in a big way and have really high ones, even up to 20 storeys in a block" Luckily very few (if any) of these tower blocks were built in the new estates - unlike other towns and cities, but I know that when we moved into our house in 1953 on the new Stoke Aldermoor estate, all the frontages were open plan lawns with no fences or gates. The vast majority of dwellings were houses, with just a few three-storey blocks of flats and a handful maisonettes. I think this was the same for the other new estates that were built around the city at that time.
Flats versus houses - 1949 debate
Midland Red
Cherwell
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2 of 3  Sun 23rd Dec 2012 6:19pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4663

This from the man who helped to destroy the appearance of the City of Coventry Oh my
Flats versus houses - 1949 debate
flapdoodle
Coventry
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3 of 3  Sun 23rd Dec 2012 6:24pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:835

Gibson was probably influenced by La Corbusiers book, The City of tomorrow, which had a lot of large tower blocks in the city centre. Ultimately, though, Gibson and people like him raped England's cities with their ideas and theories and left us with places like Coventry. Others have reversed the damage these people caused, but Coventry seems to celebrate it. People like Gibson thought they knew what was best for us and never understood why their 'work' was despised and failed. Gibson got the hump that people didn't follow the routes he (badly) planned. His architecture was so poor the council had to resort to putting in flowerbeds to make the city look a little less dreary. Quite why we have a memorial to him is baffling. Although quite aptly, it's stuck up on the ramp they built in an attempt to make his upper level work. It didn't.
Flats versus houses - 1949 debate

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