The Rush For Houses

July 1919

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 12, 1919

The Rush For Houses

According to the state of things reported at a meeting of the Bolton Urban Council this week, it will probably be necessary for that authority to garrison its new houses with a strong armed guard against their prospective tenants when the houses are within measurable distance of completion.

Otherwise, homeless people will make sure of possession by camping in the lower rooms while the upper rooms are being constructed.

The Council are being pestered with applications, and if they carry out the Local Government Board’s formula of charging the highest rent obtainable, there is little doubt that the prevailing desperation will lead to some fancy bids in the way of rent. We should then find out what working men really are prepared to give for the tenancy of a house, when they are put to it.

Before the shortage the average workman would not give much more than five shillings a week for shelter. Wages were lower, it is true, but many workmen could afford more than that in the autumn of 10, recovering the difference unless essential expenditure.

For every family ought to have a good house, and you never could get a good house for five shillings a week. If the working classes had been a little more house-proud in the past there would not have been the present shortage, and heaps of slums that are still inhabited would have been left derelict and would have been swept up long ago