Housing the People in Victorian Bristol


Peter Malpass

244 x 170mm / softback


Latest title in the major series of local history studies – Redcliffe/UWE Regional Histories

No-one alive today can remember the nineteenth century, but a great many people in Bristol live with it every day, in houses built at that time. These houses are in fact most of what remains of Victorian Bristol, although thankfully none of them is in its original form, with primitive plumbing and no electricity or central heating.

Drawing on extensive research in the archives this book is the first to systematically explore questions about how the people were housed in Victorian Bristol: how, in the absence of any sort of overall plan, were the fields and market gardens around the city converted into streets of houses? How did areas such as Bedminster and Clifton acquire quite different kinds of houses? Who were the builders? What determined who lived where? What was it like to live in a suburban villa or one of the inner-city courts? And what did the town council do to ameliorate the worst conditions?

A key conclusion is that too much reliance was placed on market forces, resulting in a permanent shortage of decent affordable houses and a stock of slum dwellings that posed a serious challenge to the city authorities in the twentieth century.