Another two stories go head to head in the Blab exhibition this week. One of these stories explores how housing has developed in the Borough, looking in particular at the impact of the First and Second World Wars.
The buildings we build to live in have changed dramatically over the last 150 years. The First and Second World Wars both had a major impact on homes and house building in Nuneaton and Bedworth. The display asks visitors to consider what type of home they might have lived in at another time in Nuneaton and Bedworth’s history.
What were homes like before 1914?
If you lived in the 1700s you might also have worked in your home. Weavers’ cottages in Attleborough had a ‘top shop’ on the highest storey with looms for silk ribbon weaving.
From the 1880s the population of Nuneaton grew quickly. The town had occupied the same area for around 400 years – now it needed more homes. You might have lived in a new terraced house in Dugdale, Alexandra or Victoria Streets. Building also took place in Attleborough, Coton and Stockingford. You might share facilities such as an outdoor toilet with your neighbours. Mining villages such as Bermuda were built so that workers and their families could live closer to the pits. If your family was wealthy you may have built an impressive villa, such as those on Manor Court Road. If your family fell on hard times, as a last resort you may have entered the Workhouse.
How did homes change between the wars (1918-1939)?
The government in the 1920s promised ‘Homes Fit For Heroes’ for the survivors of the First World War. You might have a new house provided by the Council such as the estates close to the centre of Stockingford and Attleborough. Concerns for public health led to slum clearance in Nuneaton and Bedworth in the 1930s. New, low-cost houses were sold to working class families. Houses in Weddington sold for £350. New houses on the roads out of town such as Lutterworth Road and the Long Shoot were popular with middle class families.
What happened after the Second World War?
Many people’s homes were damaged or destroyed in Nuneaton during the Second World War (1939-1945). There was a huge shortage of homes following the war. New houses were desperately needed. Demolition of older, unsuitable housing continued in the 1950s and 1960s with a programme of redevelopment in Bedworth. The Council joined with the National Coal Board to build Camp Hill with houses for miners and their families. Camp Hill was redeveloped again in the 1990s.
After the Second World War more people wanted to own their own home. New private housing continues to be built on the outskirts of the Borough to the present day.
This mini display can be viewed until Sunday 13th November. Come along and tell us whether this story should be part of a future Local History Gallery!