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Urban Governance and Civic Responsibility: Interwar Council Housing in Buxton

Citation: Hulme, Tom (2010) Urban Governance and Civic Responsibility: Interwar Council Housing in Buxton. Midland History, 35 (2). pp. 237-255. ISSN 0047-729X

Hulme - Urban Governance.pdf

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Councillors and locals alike in Buxton, Derbyshire, had a strong sense of civic identity relating to the town's reputation as a spa and site of leisure in the interwar period. The council clearly saw its civic role as maintaining this prestigious image. The imposition of housing powers from the central government in 1919 therefore raised an important question in the area: how far did the council's responsibility to housing the local working classes extend now that they had the means to improve conditions? The unpredictable complexities of state policy certainly had an effect on the progress of housing schemes in the town, yet a close examination of the intricate and local culture of perceived responsibility reveals the importance of a very localised decision-making process. From the resolution to build, through the problems in implementing housing schemes, to the management of tenants and property following construction, it was the local authority that had the power to make substantial changes. Buxton was a small rural town, without a popular belief that it was blighted by typical urban problems of overcrowding and slums. It instead looked to its status as a spa town to inform housing policy decisions. By elucidating Buxton's experience, as opposed to larger industrial cities with familiar problems of housing and slums, a different analysis of local intervention can be contributed to the historiography of council housing in Britain.

Creators: Hulme, Tom ( and
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Subjects: History
Divisions: Institute of Historical Research
  • 1 September 2010 (published)
  • 1 September 2009 (accepted)


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