In 1925, the 1,200 acre Braunstone Estate was compulsorily purchased
and the initial plan was for 1,200 houses. The principles of Garden
Suburb design had been established by this time: the streets had
open spaces, wide verges, many trees, curves rather than straight
lines; the houses had rustic features, cavity walls, good sized
gardens and plenty of light; there were bungalows for the elderly.
The rents of the houses varied according to the type from 7s (35p)
to 10s (50p) a week, though the bulk of them ranged from 8s 6d (42p)
to 10s (50p) a week, exclusive of rates. At the end of 1926 the
number of applicants on the waiting list was 6,000. However, there
was recognition that the rents charged still excluded the very poorest
of Leicester's citizens.
Leicester's council housing construction increased to a peak in
1927, but the economic and political climate was changing and the
emphasis was becoming more on housing for those displaced by slum
clearance than on general additions to the housing stock. Also,
low interest rates and cheap mortgages became available, and the
owner-occupier became the focus of new building.
The new, modern, houses were desirable places to be, although there
was an initial lack of amenities and those used to close knit living
in the terraced houses of the city could find themselves having
to adjust to the wide open spaces of suburbia. As there were no
shops, mobile vans came round on new estates. Firms touted for trade,
trying to sell insurance, carpets etc. Eventually tenants' associations
were formed and activities such as gardening competitions helped
to create a community feeling.
Hear a description of why the tenants'
association was formed
Click on the thumbnails below to see larger pictures
Estate and Park