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Housing in Farnworth 1930

by Bill Flynn and Elsie Vining

"The old houses were in Kent Street, Bridgewater Street, Frederick Street, Thomas Street, York Street, and Ellesmere Street. A lot of people classed this area as rough, and it had a bad reputation. The houses were the old tiny two up and two down, built in the nineteenth century to house the local mill workers.

These houses had the old privy at the bottom of the yard and no bathrooms. People used tin baths in front of the fire. The stairs were very steep, which meant it was easy to fall down them. The keys to the front doors were like big jailhouse iron ones. If somebody had a Yale lock, it was reckoned they had something to hide.

Those who knew the area saw it as being very neighbourly where everybody mucked in to help each other. When someone was ill there were always people to help. People could leave their doors open when they went shopping, and everyone knew everyone else, so when a strange face came in the area, they all noticed this, and together with the old Bobbies on the beat, helped keep any trouble down."

Farnworth Council was probably the first authority in the country to introduce a slum clearance and rebuilding programme under the 1930 Housing Act.

The top photograph illustrates the housing at the time. The Revd.Wilcockson, the Chairman of Housing, said, "We are at the beginning of a new era. If I had my way I would like to see every house in which a bath could not be placed demolished".


Sum housing, Farnworth
The Rev J Wilcockson
The Rev J Wilcockson - first Mayor of Farnworth