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Lawrence Hill construction

Bristol Housing Report: 1959-1964

Our final look at the housing reports from the bound volume at Bristol Reference Library (B14100) covers the early years of the 1960s.

This was published as a single five-year review, a break from the tradition of producing a new report annually. The city was still dealing with the demands of rebuilding after the war along with the continuing need to address the issue of homes considered unfit for human habitation and the general housing shortage.


The new post-war estates included Hartcliffe (Gatehouse Avenue, pictured above) where residents were moving into centrally-heated houses with private gardens and parking space or blocks of flats. Flats were considered desirable by many residents as they were clean, roomy and modern; for the council they provided an opportunity to build multiple homes more cheaply and using less land. Essential amenities were gradually being added to the estates, including shopping areas, as depicted in the photos below of Hartcliffe and Lawrence Weston taken from the report.

Lawrence Weston

New homes were also being built in the city centre. This included in the Redcliff Redevelopment area between the cathedral and New Cut (in the foreground of the picture below).  Canynge House at Redcliff was Bristol’s first council tower-block. It opened in 1954 and included a creche, communal laundry and doctor’s surgery amongst its amenities.

Aerial review of Redcliff

There had been a considerable increase in the number of Housing Associations during this period, stimulated by loans available from central government and the support of the local authority. The 1964 Housing Act further encouraged this provision. Recently approved Housing Association schemes in Bristol included:

Trustees of Hills Almshouses: awarded a council grant towards the cost of providing bathrooms and toilets in a facility for old people on Jacobs Wells Road.

Bristol Municipal Housing Trustees: awarded a council grant towards the cost of improving resident nurses’ accommodation.

Trustees of St Nicholas’ Almshouses: awarded a council grant and a loan towards the costs of repairing ten flats damaged during the war.

Trustees of Alderman Steevens Almshouses: awarded a council grant towards the construction of 13 one-bedroomed dwellings for old people in Old Market Street.

Elmdale Housing Association (Bristol) Ltd: awarded a council grant and loan towards the cost of acquiring and converting three flats on Westbury Road.

West of England Friends Housing Society Ltd: awarded a council grant and a loan towards the costs of extending an old people’s home in Cotham Park North.

THIS ESSAY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2019 AS PART OF THE HOMES FOR HEROES 100 PROJECT. Photo at top of page: construction of blocks of flats in Lawrence Hill.

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