Postwar reconstruction and the questions of popular housing provision, 1939-1951 : the debates and implementation of policy, with particular reference to Coventry and Portsmouth
The existing historiography has done much to highlight the significance of the 1940s in the evolution of social policy in Great Britain. This thesis is an attempt to assess whether there was a new departure in popular housing provision in this period. It deals with the housing debate during the Second World War and examines its impact on the implementation of housing policy under the 1945 Labour Government. It explores the views of housing experts and politicians, as well as those of the public on various aspects of housing during the war and considers how they were reflected in the formulation of postwar housing policy. It also looks at the ways in which the policy was implemented at local level between 1945 and 1951. A central aim of this thesis is to examine the role and influence of architects and planners both in the process of moulding policy and in the actual practice of providing houses. This thesis will argue that despite the impact of the war which opened up fresh possibilities for applying new ideas in popular housing provision, the influence of these experts were very much circumscribed by the difficult economic circumstances of the late 1940s and by the existence of conservative, anti-planning forces in society.