Glossop Heritage Trust

Glossop's Council Housing.

The requirement for local authorities to provide housing started after the First World War with the promise of "homes fit for heroes" and the Housing Act of 1919. Subsequent Acts introduced changes of policy until construction was stopped by the Second World War. Articles in the local press and council publications have been used to put together this summary of the developments which took place up to about the mid-1950s before the major overspill estates became part of the landscape.

The First Houses
In Glossop an initial target of 2,000 modern homes was suggested by the local press. After hesitating for 6 months, the council published plans in July 1920 for 150 houses which were to cost, with roads and sewers, £1,000 each. In the end only 48 were built, 16 each at Sheffield Road (after Lord Howard at first refused to sell land for workmen’s dwellings there and offered Pikes Farm instead), Simmondley Lane and Newshaw Lane.
Being equipped with bath, hot water and indoor W.C., they were of a higher standard than many of the existing houses in the town but the rents were such that some people could not afford them. One factor in reducing the number was that the idea of ratepayers in general subsidising the rents of council houses was fiercely opposed by the general public as much as by the council themselves. Ironically, because the 1919 Act required central government to pay the costs which exceeded the product of a penny rate, it would have cost ratepayers no more had the council built the full 150 houses originally planned.
Sheffield Road council houses
Sheffield Road council houses
Simmondley Lane council houses
Simmondley Lane council houses
Newshaw Lane council houses
Newshaw Lane council houses


After the Second World War
It was to be June 1944 before the Town Clerk could report that he had received permission from the Ministry of Health for the council to borrow £1,464 for the purchase of land for the building of houses under the post-war housing programme. Initial plans were to build 100 houses in the Hadfield area during the first year and further houses in Sheffield Road during the second year. There were also plans to build prefabricated houses as, despite their disadvantages, it was agreed that they were far better than 80 per cent of the existing houses in Glossop. Work was delayed by staff still awaiting demob from the forces, shortage of materials (especially timber), red tape (18 consecutive stages had to be gone through before construction could start on any site) and by arguments over the types of properties. Even though the plans were in place, councillors still argued over whether to cancel the building of temporary prefabs (which were intended to last only 10 years) and build permanent prefabs instead. The Borough Surveyor was kept waiting for instructions as to whether the permanent houses should have two, three or more bedrooms and should be of the parlour and/or non-parlour type. Delays were not over even once work had started. The lack of penalty clauses in contracts meant that no pressure could be brought to bear on contractors and sub-contractors who gave priority to other work.

Acre Street Prefabs A plan of a proposed site for 50 prefabricated bungalows at Acre Street was published at the end of January 1945. The prefabs were the Arcon Mark 5, with a living-room, two bedrooms and a bathroom. The kitchen was fitted with modern appliances, including refrigerator, wash boiler, cooker, and folding shelves. The rooms would be heated from a central duct.
Though progress had been slow at Acre Street, the Chronicle published (this photo) in its issue of 30 August 1946 (about 6 months after building had started). The article stated that they would be “all-electric” with a living-room, bathroom, two bedrooms, kitchen, w.c. and an outside storeroom.
The Chronicle of 15 November 1946 announced that the happiest people in Glossop were Mr. and Mrs. W. Wood and family, of 64 Charlestown Road, who had just been given the keys to number 28, “The Acre”, the first of the prefabs in Glossop to become tenanted.
Another property was used as an exhibition house, furnished by local businesses. It was thought that cooking, washing and ironing, all by electricity, may be a strange experience for some of the tenants so the S.H.M.D. Joint Board was to install a demonstrator in the exhibition house to teach tenants how to get the best out of their appliances at the lowest cost. The demonstrator was to be on the site for one month from the first occupations, by which time it was hoped that all the prefabs would be tenanted. In the event there were further delays due to the fact that, whilst the houses themselves were ready, the paths and roads &c were not, a situation arising from the desire of the Ministry of Works to be able to claim that houses were being let.
By the end of December 1946 about half of the prefabs were occupied. However, the roads and paths still required a large amount of preliminary work and the curtilages still awaited definition (all the responsibility of the Ministry of Works).
Less than 3 years later a report by the Sanitary Inspector listed a large number of defects with the properties which had to be dealt with. Despite that, by October 1952 it was being admitted that the prefabs (which were supposed to have a life of 10 years and had been housing families for 6 years) were unlikely to be removed in less than 20 or 30 years.
Whitfield prefab
Whitfield prefab
Whitfield prefab kitchen
Whitfield prefab kitchen
Whitfield prefab living room
Whitfield prefab living room


Permanent Houses
In June 1945 the council decided that the permanent houses to be built on the Sheffield Road and Newshaw Lane sites would have 900 square feet of floor space, both gas and electricity installed, and that kitchens should be modern but with a cold cupboard and a gas boiler rather than a refrigerator and immersion heater. There should also be a gas or electric cooker. By the end of January 1946 the General Purposes Committee had agreed (in general principle) that preparation of plans for houses on the various sites could proceed. At Sheffield Road there were to be 18 three-bedroom type, 10 two-bedroom type and 4 for aged people. At Newshaw Lane, 48 three-bedroom type, 8 two-bedroom type and 16 for aged people. The permanent houses would have one through room which could be partitioned to form a dining recess. The kitchens were to be fitted with modern amenities. Upstairs there would be two large rooms for double beds and a single room, complete with built-in wardrobes, bathroom and W.C. The plumbing work was to be fitted along a central duct so that there was no question of having burst pipes. Everything in the houses was standardised, thus reducing costs.

Sheffield Road (Woodcock Grove) By the end of December 1946, a start had been made on 24 houses on the Sheffield Road site, some of which were at roofing, others at flooring stage, and the remainder rising from their foundations.
In May 1947 it was announced that the Borough Surveyor was to arrange for a house on the Sheffield Road site to be furnished as a show-house for fourteen days. The first fourteen tenants for houses on the site were selected in June, with a further 14, including 8 old people's flats, to be made later. At the time it was confidently expected that the houses would be ready for occupation in August but it was actually the end of November when the Mayor handed over the keys to the tenants of No 2 Woodcock Grove (ex-Capt. James Teasdale and his wife, Mrs. Evelyn Teasdale, along with their three children).
The exhibition house (No. 1 Woodcock Grove) (photo) was opened the same day. As with Acre Street, it was filled with furniture lent by the Glossop Co-operative Society Ltd., and Mr. H. Chadwick. The kitchens had a slow combustion stove, which burned anything and was the cheapest way of providing heat, plus a modern way of drying pots with the drier over the sink ready for pots being lifted out of water. Cooking could be done by electricity or gas. Cupboards were covered with white enamel and drawers provided so that everything could be kept clean and tidy. There was a gas boiler and cooker in the kitchen, plus shelves for pots, a pantry with three shelves and a place under the stairs for odds and ends. The lounge overlooked a garden which could be entered through a French window and the bathroom included a heating chamber for towels, with a separate W.C. The three bedrooms each held a full-size bed and the largest would hold two twin beds if necessary. There was also a W.C. outside and a coalhouse and place for tools, etc.
Woodcock Grove council houses
Woodcock Grove council houses
Woodcock Grove council houses
Woodcock Grove council houses


Hadfield (Newshaw Lane/Bankswood Close) In September 1946 it was announced that the proposed Newshaw Lane housing site layout had been approved by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Town Planning and all the drawings were completed for the roads and sewers. The issue of an advertisement for tenders for roads and sewers was authorised. The first batch would be 22 permanent and would not include any of the flats for elderly people (which would be in the second batch). By the end of December 1946, the council had accepted a tender, subject to the sanction of the Ministry, for the 22 houses at Newshaw Lane, and was preparing plans for a further 54 on an adjacent site. It was to be a couple of years more before the houses were complete.
Bankswood Close council houses
Bankswood Close council houses
Newshaw Lane/Bankswood Close council houses


Hadfield (Newlands Drive) The Chronicle of 2 January 1948 reported that the Ministry of Health had continued to withhold its permission to proceed with the construction of 22 houses and 16 aged persons' flats at Newshaw Lane, meaning further delay in the provision of much needed permanent houses. In December 1948 the council submitted amended plans for the Newshaw Lane site to the Ministry of Health. They provided for 20 two-bedroom type flats (an amended lay-out which could accommodate a second bed and would thus be suitable for young couples with children) and 34 three-bedroom type houses instead of 12 two-bedroom and 34 three-bedroom type houses which the Ministry had provisionally approved.
A special meeting of the Council in July 1949 approved a recommendation made by the Housing Committee with reference to the acceptance of a tender for the erection of houses on Newlands Drive. The tender was from T. A. Lomas, of Stockport, for the construction of 34 three-bedroomed houses and 20 two-bedroomed flats, at a cost of £67,350 (of which £64,821 would represent the cost of erection). The firm had assured the Borough Surveyor that their capacity was 100 houses a year, and the first houses would be completed about three months after the start of building. The cost of the flats would be £1,083 and of the houses £1,273. Cost of sewers and other expenses would bring the price up to £1,171 and £1,480 respectively.
In February 1950 the Chronicle was able to publish a view of Hadfield's new housing estate, showing some of the flats then being completed and in mid-October the Mayor presented the key of the 100th corporation house (on Newlands Drive) to the incoming tenants, Mr. and Mrs. Garlick. By January 1951 every house in Newlands Drive was tenanted.
Newlands Drive council flats
100th council tenant
Newlands Drive council flats under construction
Incoming tenants of the 100th council house


Whitfield Permanent Houses In January 1948 it was reported that the lay-out and type plans for 52 three-bedroom houses and 24 two-bedroom flats for the Acre Street site had been adopted by the committee and would be submitted to the Ministry for approval. By January 1951 the Acre site was under construction and by April 1951 the council had accepted a tender for 40 permanent houses and four flats for the Whitfield Avenue site.
In July of the same year the monthly meeting of the council heard that all flats on the Acre site were let and of 12 three-bedroomed houses two had been allocated to people who had applied in 1945. That left only 10 to be let. Some of the people who had been allocated houses had not accepted them for various reasons. Some only wanted to live on one particular site and some found the rent too high. Others found that their land-lords had done considerable repairs in their houses and now did not wish to move.
The same month brought the exhibition of a model of a new type of semi-detached house to be erected on the Acre site to accommodate five persons. The difference from those already built in the town was that outbuildings would be removed and attached to the main building. Front doors would face each other. There would be three bedrooms and the same kind of living room and kitchen as in the others. The objective was to bring the cost down so that they could be let at a more economical rent.
The Model House
Whitfield council houses
Whitfield council houses
The Model House
Whitfield council houses


Railway Houses
In June 1950 the Ministry of Health asked the council to erect 12 houses at Hadfield (on top of its existing allocation) specifically for tenancy by men to be employed at a new maintenance depot proposed for the newly electrified railway. Two sites were chosen, for 4 houses on Green Lane and 8 on Hadfield Road. In December 1951, as the houses were reaching completion, it was discovered that the plan to establish a maintenance depot at Hadfield had been abandoned in favour of a site at Reddish and the houses would not be required for the maintenance men. At the request of the Ministry, however, 3 were reserved for railway men and 9 were to be offered to Glossop applicants.

Pyegrove In January 1950 the suggestion that an estate should be built on Pyegrove started an argument which lasted for some time (as it was a recreation ground by deed). Alternatives of building at Gamesley or Carr Farm were suggested, the latter being quickly dismissed because of water and topographical difficulties. After inspecting sites across the borough in January 1950 (see below), the council decided to apply to the Minister of Health for sanction to use Pyegrove Recreation Ground for housing. That didn't stop the argument, which was still ongoing a year later.
Eventually, of course, the scheme did go ahead. At the beginning of February 1954 the council decided that the new road on Pyegrove estate would be named Queen's Drive in commemoration of the coronation of the previous year.
Queen's Drive council houses
Queen's Drive council houses
Queen's Drive council houses
Queen's Drive council houses


Other Sites Considered
In January 1950 councillors toured the town and inspecting ten possible sites:
  1. Hadfield Road and Mersey Bank;
  2. Hadfield Road and Green Lane;
  3. Peter Street (frontage);
  4. Adjoining old Gamesley Isolation Hospital;
  5. Behind Cottage Lane, Gameseley;
  6. Simmondley Lane:
  7. Simmondley New-road;
  8. Between Cross Cliffe and Hurst Brook;
  9. Frontage on south side of Sheffield Road at corner of Hurst Lane;
  10. Rear of north side of Sheffield Road and east of existing housing estate.
After discussion they reached four decisions:
  1. To apply for sanction to use Pyegrove Recreation Ground for housing.
  2. That existing small plots of land adjoining roads already developed should be built up before the development of larger sites.
  3. The Borough Surveyor was instructed to prepare a report to the council on the possibility of developing small sites adjoining existing developed roads, and of small extensions to the roads together with the number of houses that could be provided on the sites and the cost per house.
  4. That development on a large scale should take place at Hadfield Road, on the land adjacent to Green Lane and Mersey Bank.
An amendment that development should take place in priority on a site at Gamesley between the Isolation Hospital and Melandra Farm was lost.

Since then, of course, much of that land has become the site of housing of various types.

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Page last updated: 15 December 2017.
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