Council housing in Nottingham is an essential part of the city’s history and identity. The slums of the nineteenth century laid the foundations for the surge of construction activity in the twentieth. Between the wars, Nottingham was recognised as one of the largest and fastest builders of council housing in the country, with huge garden city estates pushing at the city boundaries. During the 1960s and 1970s attention turned to the inner city, and by 1981 around half of Nottingham’s population lived in council tenancies. The Right to Buy discount of the 1980s heralded a new area of decreasing stock, massive sales and modest rebuilding, then the birth of Nottingham City Homes in 2005 opened a new chapter in the story. Since 2010 Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council have been building council housing again with renewed vigour and confidence.
In Nottingham, council housing is popular; it is widely recognised as something that has improved the lives of countless people.
Chris Matthews is a topographer, local historian and graphic designer who formerly lectured at Lincoln University. He leads local history walks in the Nottingham area, and cowrote Towns in Britain and Cities of the North with Adrian Jones.
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