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The New Death of the City

Kirkhill

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Problem in Vancouver is that those people can`t afford to live here, even my friend who is RCMP and his wife is a ER nurse, could not afford to buy a apartment here in North Van. Housing prices have disconnected from the local wages, small companies are moving to the suburbs to be closer to workers and to avoid traffic jams.

Not sure that that is a new problem either.

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This is a common image of industrial era cities - terraces, row houses, tenements. Nearly all have passed through phases as "low rent" districts.

They are what Karl Marx was seeing when he wrote Das Kapital.

What most people fail to realize is that these were built as model homes. They were designed to attract, and keep workers from the farms. The mill owners saw it as being in their best interests to treat their workers well. They didn't have a ready supply of knowledgeable workers. They had to attract them and train them and keep them. So they built new single family dwellings with, originally, long back yards for growing vegetables and keeping chickens and pigs. They built churches for the community and libraries and schools for the kids to train the replacements for the parents.

And they were successful in attracting farm workers and turning them into mill workers. And more farm workers wanted to become mill workers.

And the mill workers started subletting their houses, probably to family, and then subdividing the houses. And you ended up with more people than the services in the area were designed to handle. And then you found Karl Marx's slums.

The basic "problem" was that the terraces were designed by successful middle class gentry used to living in single family dwellings but were occupied by large, extended families of agricultural labourers used to "pigging in" on top of one another in crowded conditions. In 1904 my grandfather's mother was taking in boarders in her country row house. She was a miner's wife. She lived in a group of 8 adjoining houses sharing one common washhouse/laundry and a common dry privy where you dumped quicklime instead of flushing. Each house had two rooms. A front room and a kitchen. And she took in boarders...

These are the same people that were living in tenements. They could tolerate living a little rougher than the middle class gentry anticipated.

Slums weren't created by owners. They were created by workers. Workers that aspired to work in the city but couldn't afford to live there. And they couldn't afford to live there because they were competing for jobs that weren't there. Surplus labour. So the owners no longer had to worry about attracting a work force. The workers were competing to replace each other.

Meanwhile the middle class gentry relocated away from the over-flowing tenements.





It's only a little over two centuries ago that Richard Arkwright built his first factory for cotton manufacturing in what is now the centre of the city of Manchester.
 

daftandbarmy

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Not sure that that is a new problem either.

View attachment 64841

This is a common image of industrial era cities - terraces, row houses, tenements. Nearly all have passed through phases as "low rent" districts.

They are what Karl Marx was seeing when he wrote Das Kapital.

What most people fail to realize is that these were built as model homes. They were designed to attract, and keep workers from the farms. The mill owners saw it as being in their best interests to treat their workers well. They didn't have a ready supply of knowledgeable workers. They had to attract them and train them and keep them. So they built new single family dwellings with, originally, long back yards for growing vegetables and keeping chickens and pigs. They built churches for the community and libraries and schools for the kids to train the replacements for the parents.

And they were successful in attracting farm workers and turning them into mill workers. And more farm workers wanted to become mill workers.

And the mill workers started subletting their houses, probably to family, and then subdividing the houses. And you ended up with more people than the services in the area were designed to handle. And then you found Karl Marx's slums.

The basic "problem" was that the terraces were designed by successful middle class gentry used to living in single family dwellings but were occupied by large, extended families of agricultural labourers used to "pigging in" on top of one another in crowded conditions. In 1904 my grandfather's mother was taking in boarders in her country row house. She was a miner's wife. She lived in a group of 8 adjoining houses sharing one common washhouse/laundry and a common dry privy where you dumped quicklime instead of flushing. Each house had two rooms. A front room and a kitchen. And she took in boarders...

These are the same people that were living in tenements. They could tolerate living a little rougher than the middle class gentry anticipated.

Slums weren't created by owners. They were created by workers. Workers that aspired to work in the city but couldn't afford to live there. And they couldn't afford to live there because they were competing for jobs that weren't there. Surplus labour. So the owners no longer had to worry about attracting a work force. The workers were competing to replace each other.

Meanwhile the middle class gentry relocated away from the over-flowing tenements.





It's only a little over two centuries ago that Richard Arkwright built his first factory for cotton manufacturing in what is now the centre of the city of Manchester.

And now, thanks to gentrification, the term 'tenament' is a very desirable (and expensive) inner-city option:

Not far from a mate's place in London N4 Digby Crescent, N4
 

Loachman

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Because those post-war super-highways were not common in Britain, Germany and Japan during the war, the Aiming Points were usually the center of the city.
There were, however, extensive and efficient rail networks.

'Twas the surge in development of a commuter rail network around London in the 1800s that enabled workers to move out to what became suburbs, and led to the creation of my town of birth, ten miles from Buckingham Palace. Trains still run at ten-minute intervals during peak periods, fifteen-minute intervals off-peak, and greater intervals late in the evening.

Not all aiming points were city-centres. Industrial areas and workers had priority due to the lack of precision, as did rail networks.

A residential area behind my grandparents' house was taken out by a V1 strike in January 1945. Their back windows were blown in.

There's been a parking lot there since the rubble was cleared, and a nearby church was heavily damaged but eventually repaired. Over a hundred buildings were damaged in that strike. The weapon was launched from an He-111 bomber over the North Sea.
 

mariomike

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There were, however, extensive and efficient rail networks.
Right.


But, there was a high price to be paid when bombing rail yards in Occupied France. Extreme measures had to be taken to keep friendly civilian casualties to an absolute minimum.

For example, Revigny, France rail yard cost 41 Lancasters shot down, on the three raids in July 1944. Of the 290 aircrew, only 59 survived. Of those who survived, most were taken prisoner. A few evaded capture.

( Those 290 included many RCAF members. )
 

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Loachman

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There was a high price paid when bombing most targets.

And no good defence against nightfighters.

See "Schräge Musik".

At least the Yanks, bombing in daylight, could see it coming.

Although that might not have been much better, they could, at least, defend themselves.

I once knew a few bomber guys.
 

mariomike

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Not all aiming points were city-centres.
Sometimes the target choice was political.

One RCAF squadron was briefed by their Station Commander. He explained that the Nazis had convinced the German people that at the end of WW1 their armed forces had remained still on foreign soil and basically undefeated, and that they, the German forces of WW1, had been betrayed by politicians at home. "He then pointed to the cord running across the map to the city of Dresden, and said, 'There are going to be a lot of people in Dresden tonight who are going to find out that war can be a very nasty thing. Never again will any future German government be able to say that the country was fairly well intact but still defeated.' "
"Incidentally, it will show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do."
Battlefields in the Air: Canadians in Bomber Command page 152.

A residential area behind my grandparents' house was taken out by a V1 strike in January 1945.

My uncle and his crew bombed the Domleger V1 Rocket site.

They also bombed Caen France in support of the Army.

Bomber Command was very busy in the summer of 1944.

Industrial areas and workers had priority due to the lack of precision,

I don't know about England. But, from what I have read of the strategic bombing surveys of Germany and Japan after the war, factory workers tended to live close to their place of employment.


 

Loachman

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Sometimes the target choice was political.

Bomber Command was very busy in the summer of 1944.

I don't know about England. But, from what I have read of the strategic bombing surveys of Germany and Japan after the war, the workers tended to live close to their places of employment.
Hence "not all" vice "none".

Very busy before and after, as well.

Yes, especially by our idea of close to work, but not necessarily in or near the middle of cities.

Few people during my childhood in England owned cars, but what was not within reasonable walking distance was accessible via an excellent and inexpensive bus and rail network and, for those in London, the Underground.

Shops were somewhat distributed, as food and milk were all fresh. We did not have a refrigerator until 1962, nor did anybody else whom I knew. My father did not own a car with an electric starter until we came to Canada in 1965.
 

Loachman

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I said, "There are lots of them."

Didn't guarantee they would meet your high standards.

I wonder what their opinion was of you?
Yes, there was no shortage of supply.

Ability to hold a conversation about anything other than shoes is a high standard?

I have no idea. I didn't ask. The answer would probably have been about shoes, anyway.

Perhaps we should have gone to the library instead of bar-hopping, but the library didn't have much of a beer selection and nobody in our smallish group knew where it was anyway.

I just gave up and watched the other guys and discreetly chuckled.
 

mariomike

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Yes, there was no shortage of supply.

Ability to hold a conversation about anything other than shoes is a high standard?
There used to be a lot of dance parties. Other than some polite small talk, you didn't have to say much.

Dancing allowed you to silently express your horizontal desires while vertical.

I guess online dating is the big thing now. I read that 90% are satisfied. The others are MIA. < Just kidding.
 

Loachman

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Not sure that that is a new problem either.

View attachment 64841

This is a common image of industrial era cities - terraces, row houses, tenements. Nearly all have passed through phases as "low rent" districts.
Much like the last house in which we lived before moving to Canada, and the first one that my parents bought.

Memories...

63 Durban Road Beckenham, complete with "long back yards for growing vegetables and keeping chickens and pigs", although we never had the latter and I cannot remember growing the former. There has been a single-story addition across the back, which has replaced the original outside toilet and coal bunker combination. You can see several examples of those in Kirkhill's photograph - the shed-like structures attached to the backs of some houses. The toilet had a ceiling-height tank with a pull chain and was not a place to spend any length of time in comfort. The only other plumbing when we moved in was a cold water pipe to the kitchen. The only sources of heat were coal fire places, but "electric fires" (space heaters) were used in most rooms. I still remember my father lighting the coal fire in what would, today, be known as a family room, and shivering until the heat began to flow outwards. Houses were not insulated, and all walls were double-thicknesses of red brick plastered on the inside. My parents quickly converted the smallest of the four bedrooms into a bathroom with an odd-looking stubby copper water heater, while most of the rest of these houses still lacked indoor bathrooms.

Front View (with open gate) The front door has been enclosed to form a porch much more recently.

I found real estate ads for two of these houses, identical (in their original form) to ours although one had a mirror-image floor plan, a couple of years ago. I have no idea what my parents paid, but the asking price in those ads was C$1.2M. Many other upgrades had been done inside and out, but the rooms were still small and that price really blew me away. I joked with my mother that they should have kept it and rented it out for a few more decades before selling.

The Coach & Horses, under the pinpoint, was my grandfather's favourite pub. Their house is to the left, and the second one down from Burnhill Road. The parking lot that resulted from the January 1945 V1 strike is the one straddling Fairfield Road. Christ Church, across Lea Road, lost a good chunk of its roof and south wall, and a few houses on the opposite side of Burnhill Road were destroyed or heavily damaged and replaced - they are a slightly more-modern style. Further to the left, across from my grandparents' house and marked "Q Bar & Kitchen" was, when we lived there, The Three Tuns (but now "Zizzi" - bleccchhhh). David Bowie performed there several times, but well after we left. "Hak's Barbers" was originally a fire station, but a greengrocer when we lived there and for many years after. There was still a hand water pump for local residential use at the base of its left-hand corner (as in this view), but no longer functional.

Other Beckenham trivia: Colour Sergeant Bourne of Zulu fame, who retired as a LCol, resides in the same cemetery as my grandparents. The original Bethlehem Hospital ("Bedlam") was also moved to an area just south of Beckenham in 1930.

2 Kelsey Square Front View The centre of the three was my grandparents' house. These, and the ones across, were the servants' lodgings for Kelsey Manor, which was demolished, like many other stately homes, between the wars. Kelsey Lodge on the right-hand side was the senior servant's lodging.

My father's older brother was killed in Burma on 20 May 1944. His name is on the War Memorial on this plaque. When his medals arrived, my grandmother threw them away.
 

Kirkhill

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8 Kings Rd Walton-On-Thames - outdoor water closet with original Crapper plumbing. As an 8 year old I found the outside cuggy much more invigorating than that effete one inside by the bedrooms.

And as for "an odd-looking stubby copper water heater," - a "geyser" by any chance?

Flooded Water Heater (C) Daniel Friedman


Don't forget the stacks of shillings to feed the gas and electric meters....
 

Loachman

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8 Kings Rd Walton-On-Thames - outdoor water closet with original Crapper plumbing. As an 8 year old I found the outside cuggy much more invigorating than that effete one inside by the bedrooms.

And as for "an odd-looking stubby copper water heater," - a "geyser" by any chance?

Flooded Water Heater (C) Daniel Friedman


Don't forget the stacks of shillings to feed the gas and electric meters....
Most people had small Geysers (the brand name, but pronounced "geezer") above the kitchen sink, spliced into the plumbing and with a long, thin, left-right movable faucet to direct the steaming hot water. There was a regular type cold-only tap at the sink.

Our water heater was a short, wide cylinder with short truncated cones top and bottom, and relatively large domed caps on those, and almost as wide as it was high. It was wrapped in off-white fabric-covered insulation. I cannot find a picture of anything like it online.

No washing machines, either, but electric clothes boilers which sometimes doubled as sources of hot water for baths.

My grandmother had to feed the meters. They were inside the basement coal bunker. It was behind a regular door off of the basement livingroom, fed through a manhole cover on the sidewalk in front of the house.

My grandparents no longer used coal, having blocked off all of the fireplaces and installed "electric fires", but there were still some small chunks and dust in that room.

The basement livingroom and kitchen/diningroom had regular windows that gave marvellous views of slimy, black brick walls with patches of moss. The wrought-iron fence in front of the house in the photograph surrounded the deep pit that allowed sunlight to reach the basement livingroom. My parents and I lived there until I was two. Everybody slept in the second-floor bedrooms, and we had the basement for other uses. The bathtub was also in the basement kitchen, with a hinged door over it for dual use and a clothes boiler on a ledge at the tap end.

And my grandmother had an Electric Bed Warmer, like these but with a long wooden handle like the earlier coal-burning ones.
 

Kirkhill

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Aye Obadiah. You tell the young uns that today and they won't believe ye.

I mind well getting up in the morning to sweep out the ashes in the fire in the living room and carrying them out to the dust bin. Then come back in and lay a new fire in the grate ready for lighting. Rolling newspaper donuts for a bed. Splitting kindling with an axe and laying it on top of the paper. Stacking coal on top of the kindling - lumps not too big nor too small. I tell ye. 6 year old I were then.

Getting to put the match to paper before setting down to watch Stingray to heat up the room before Dad got home.

Going out at night in the cold, and the rain and the dark to refill the coal scuttle. Having to beat big lumps of coal with a hammer to reduce them to small pieces that could be carried in the scuttle. Ah. The smell of a blazing coal fire on a cold night. Sheer luxury!

And do you mind the winter of '63. Aye. That were a winter. The snow was over my wellies! Froze my knees making snowmen in short trousers and wellies. I tell ye right enough.

:ROFLMAO:
 

Kirkhill

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I was a Gerry and Sylvia Anderson fan. Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds .... And then we came to Canada.
 

Weinie

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I was a Gerry and Sylvia Anderson fan. Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds .... And then we came to Canada.
We had a combo coal and wood stove when I was growing up in the 60's in Nova Scotia. We tamped it down to get through the night, but it was always excruciatingly cold in the morning, until you got more coal/wood in the stove. Coal was much more expensive than wood. As an 8 year old, in the fall I split wood till my hands bled. In the winter carried some inside for cooking, heat for the evening, and the morning. As per a previous post, there was no insulation in the house, no running water (but a pump) and no indoor plumbing. When I tell my kids that today, they can't believe it.
 
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