Municipal Housing Schemes in Wednesbury

Wednesbury Market Place. From an old postcard.

Wednesbury and most of the towns in the Black Country suffered from acute housing shortages, and a lack of quality housing. In the 18th and 19th centuries the local population increased dramatically as people flocked to the area to take advantage of the many jobs on offer in the new industries that came to dominate the landscape. The original housing was totally inadequate and could not cope with the inevitable overcrowding, and unsanitary conditions that followed.

Local authorities had to begin a programme of house building in order to overcome the acute shortage of adequate housing, something that the private sector had failed to do. Many municipal estates were built on derelict land that had to be reclaimed after decades of mining left spoil heaps, mine workings, flooded pits, subsidence, and marl holes. It was an immense undertaking, and greatly changed the local landscape.

This is the story of Wednesbury’s council estates that were built before 1936. The photographs are from a souvenir booklet produced to celebrate the building of the town’s 2,000th municipal house. It was kindly lent to me by Tony Highfield.



1.   Background
2.   Reclamation
3.   Slums
4.   Crankhall Lane (West) Estate
5.   Park Lane Estate
6.   Dangerfield Lane Estate
7.   Fallings Heath Estate
8.   Other Estates
9.   Types of Houses and Their Construction

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