Black Country Bugle
Bright new dawn as the slums are wiped away at last
SWATHES of the Black Country underwent huge changes in the years between the wars.
As the country finally began to get back to some sort of normality after 1918, local authorities formulated plans to bring housing up to a standard that working people deserved.
Millions of families up and down the country, especially in industrial regions like our own, were still living in decaying housing, dating from well into Victorian times, and paying private landlords for the privilege.
Damp, draughty, unheated but for a fireplace, many without their own source of fresh water, toilets, bathrooms or functional kitchens, it was time for them to go.
By the early 1930s many councils began to clear these slums en masse, and replace them with purpose-built council houses, of a type which must have been an unimaginable luxury to many of those who moved in.
Wednesbury’s Municipal Housing Scheme was a prime example, and these photographs are taken from a booklet which the town produced in 1935, to show just how big a change they had wrought. Our thanks to Wednesbury historian and author Ian Bott for his loan of the booklet. We’ve featured images from it before, but here we have views of some of the worst slums; Pitts Square and Short Street, as well as some of the shiny new builds, on the Park Lane Estate.