Locality and Region Seminar - 16 October 2018

16 October, 2018 - 17:15
IHR, Room 304

We hope you can join us for the next Locality and Region Seminar of 2018-19. 

Hidden Away: Taunton’s slums and back courts

Mary Siraut, VCH Somerset

This talk will look at the slums and back courts of Taunton: the medieval burgage plots and gardens of Taunton’s larger houses and inns, used by their owners in the late 18th and 19th centuries to create cheap, flimsy housing out of sight and often out of mind. A shortage of working-class housing led to the toleration of the back courts until the late 19th century. Concerns over public health largely motivated the campaign for early court clearance but by the mid 20th century good houses and important historic buildings were also swept away in the name of slum clearance. Were the town planners really motivated by concern for better housing for the poor or by the desire to make life easier for motorists? And was there a hidden agenda to eradicate Taunton’s industrial image and promote an idyll of a rural county town attractive to prosperous retirees and tourists?


All welcome