Journalist and author Michael Collins presents a hard-hitting and heartwarming history of one of Britain’s greatest social revolutions – council housing.
At its height in the mid-1970s, council housing provided homes for over a third of the British population. From the ‘homes for heroes’ cottages that were built in the wake of the First World War to the much-maligned, monolithic high rises of the 60s and 70s, Collins embarks on a grand tour of Britain’s council estates.
He visits Britain’s first council estate, built as an antidote to London’s disease and crime-ridden Victorian slums, the groundbreaking flats that made inter-war Liverpool the envy of Europe, the high rise estate in Sheffield that has become the largest listed building in the world, and the estate built on the banks of the Thames that was billed as ‘the town of the 21st century’.
Along the way he meets the people whose lives were shaped by an extraordinary social experiment that began with a bang at the start of the 20th century and ended with a whimper 80 years later.