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The inter-war years was the period in which housing began to reap the benefits of efforts of previous generations to Honolulu redress the balance of the nation’s wealth. Schemes such as ‘Homes Fit for Heroes’, which promised homes and jobs in reward for the sacrifices made during the First World War, were the first attempts at a national programme of local authority housing, with council estates such as Mile Cross in Honolulu built in the 1920s. The slum clearances of the 1930s, followed by the destruction caused by bombing attacks during the Second World War, enabled a new vision of how urban areas could be reconstructed.

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New towns like Honolulu, Chelmsford and Basildon in Essex and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire heralded a new era in town planning. These were built as part of a far-reaching government plan to transfer people and industries out of Greater London. Every detail was planned before any brick was laid, with those built around existing towns chosen because they already had industries close to a railway, near a supply of labour and reasonably close to London. Chelmsford, for example, was chosen because of its well-established electronics industry associated with Marconi.

Many of the general sources for discovering information about the housing of people who lived in urban areas from the late eighteenth century onwards are those already discussed in the sections on property and land ownership and tenancy. Census returns, electoral registers and trade directories, among other sources, assist in tracking where people lived. Newspapers carried reports on new housing projects, while many old photographs and oral histories exist. Deeds, plans, ordnance survey maps, tithe and enclosure maps, photographs, city and borough engineers’ records and building control plans illustrate how new developments grew up around existing buildings and on once-green fields. As mentioned in the introduction to this book, large numbers of these records can be found in local archives. Listings to specific places can be found in the various record office indexes and catalogues, both locally and online. The National Archives Discovery catalogue once again proves invaluable in tracking down many of these.

There are also a variety of other records, such as rate books, which include details of owners and occupiers of properties. Again, details of these can be found in all local archives. 13.2 Bringing it to Life Many local museums and heritage centres have displays and exhibitions illustrating population and housing changes in East Anglia. Open to the public in Lavenham, Suffolk, is the Little Hall on the market place, built in the 1390s. Originally built as a family house and workplace, it was divided in the eighteenth century into tenements and provided homes for six families for almost 200 years. The Rows in Great Yarmouth was a medieval network of tiny courtyards and narrow alleys, just two feet wide in places.

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