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Title: The role of the architect in post-war state housing : a case study of the housing work of the London County Council, 1919-1956
Author: Day, Nicholas Merthyr
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1988
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This research offers a critical history of the rble played by the architect in post Second world war state Housing. It takes the housing output of the London county council, from 1939 to 1956, as a case study. The aim of the research was to analyse the main strategies of the post-war Labour Government's housing policy from 1945 to 1951, and to assess the success of their implementation by the London County Council. Another aim was to analyse the changes in the architectural style of the Council's housing, and to relate these to contemporary theory and ideology. The thesis is divided into two parts. Part I considers the broader general issues. Section 1.1 looks at debates concerning architectural practice and theory. The status and function of the public architect is analysed. The influence of new art historical methodologies on architectural criticism are assessed, and the development of architectural groupings and the definition of three paradigms for reconstruction are described. Section 1.2 analyses government housing policy from 1939 to 1956, highlighting the differences between Labour and Conservative strategies. The political, social and architectural implications of Labour's policy of 'mixed development' are outlined. Section 1.3 looks at the structure and staffing of the LCC Architects' Department housing division, and describes the changes in architectural responsibility for the Council's housing. Part II analyses the housing work of the LCC from 1939 to 1956. section 2.1 looks at the period 1939 to 1945 when J.H. Forshaw was in Charge of the design and planning of the Council's housing. The woodberry Down scheme is analysed in detail and its innovatory features are related to the principles outlined in the County of London Plan, Section 2.1 covers the housing work when C. Walker as Director of Housing and Valuer was responsible for the Council's housing. Section 2.3 analyses the work of R.H. Matthew's new housing division set up in 1950, describing six schemes designed between 1950 and 1956. The development of a Swedish and a Corbusian style in these schemes is outlined, and the architectural and ideological differences between them are described. The thesis concludes that the Labour Government's attempt to introduce a radical socialist housing policy (from 1945 to 1951) Which relied upon the theory of 'Mixed development' to create complete and balanced communities, as illustrated in the work of the LCC, was of limited scope and success. The rble of the architect was seen to be a marginal one, limited to aesthetic developments rather than the political or social aspects of state housing. No new or consistent 'Welfare State style' of architecture was produced by the LCC from 1945 to 1951 to correspond to this redefinition of state housing. The later schemes of Matthew's new housing division were thus merely aesthetic re-workings of what were basically pre-war housing policies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; NA Architecture