University makes statement

10 December 1968

The front page of today’s issue of the Guild Gazette carries the following statement concerning the University-owned slum properties in Melville Place, plus an editorial on the issue:

The University-owned houses in Melville Place (see centre pages) are to be taken over by Liverpool Corporation. The Corporation hope to rehouse all the families living there during the next year. On Wednesday Mr. Higby, the University Estates and Development Officer,  faced a meeting of the Abercromby Tenants Association during which the Melville Place tenants aired their grievances.

On Friday, Mr. Higby issued the following statement:

The houses in Melville Place and Grove Street are just inside the area allocated for University development by Liverpool Corporation. Built during the industrial revolution, the houses are about 100 years old; they are worn out structures with defective roofs, out-of-date planning and many of them lack the basic amenities of bathrooms and hot water.

It is for this reason that the Corporation, acting under their powers under the Housing Acts, scheduled these properties as unfit for human habitation, and made a Compulsory Purchase Order, later confirmed by the Minister of Housing, for the purchase of the property with a view to its demolition and the rehousing of the occupiers.

Of the 70 properties being acquired 26 are owned by the University and were purchased for eventual re-development of the site and during the past 2 to 8 years some £3,000 has been spent on repairs. The University employs Liverpool Improved Houses Ltd, a non-profit making Housing Association, to manage the property and the Housing Managers of this organisation visit the property every week.

It is, of course, very regrettable that people should have to live in these conditions, but I am informed that the Corporation anticipate being able to rehouse all the families concerned within the next 12 months and in the meantime they have taken over the property and will keep it in reasonable repair.

It may not be generally realised, since it is not now very apparent, that the University Precinct was originally high density housing much of which would now be classed as slums. Upwards of 1000 families have been rehoused since the war and nearly half of them have been satisfactorily re-accomodated by the University which has spent a considerable sum 0f its own and University Grants’ Committee’s money in purchasing property outside the Precinct for improvement and conversion for rehousing purposes.

Footnote from the future (2009)

Go here for a map showing the location of the streets where the University and the City Council owned slum properties.


Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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