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John Bull's other homes: State housing and British policy in Ireland, 1883-1922

Fraser, Murray; (1993) John Bull's other homes: State housing and British policy in Ireland, 1883-1922. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis proposes that state housing became an integral aspect of the relationship between Ireland and Great Britain from the 1880s until the early-1920s. Based on research into both Irish and Westminster sources, it shows that there was recurrent pressure for the state to intervene in housing in Ireland during a period when the 'Irish Question' was the major domestic political issue. The outcome was that the basis of subsequent state housing policy in Great Britain, namely direct central subsidy and recommended plan types, was introduced first in Ireland. The pioneering subsidy programme, the result of nationalist agitation by the Irish Parliamentary Party after the 'Land War' of the early-1880s, had by 1914 built nearly 50,000 rural cottages for agricultural labourers. Urban housing proved to be more intractable, since successive British Governments resisted a comparable state subsidy for Irish municipalities. This led to conflict with Westminster in the pre-war period, notably during the bitter industrial confrontation in 1913-14 between Dublin employers and the unskilled labourers' union organised by James Larkin and James Connolly. In parallel with policy developments, there was a continued attempt to introduce British garden suburb principles through initiatives like the 1914 Dublin Town Plan Competition. When after the 1916 Easter Rising the British Government decided expediently to increase housing funds, it was to this design model that Dublin Corporation turned. Post-war Irish housing legislation (the equivalent of the 1919 Addison Act on the mainland) finally codified garden suburb orthodoxy, but opposition from Sinn Fein and a disadvantageous subsidy system meant that little state housing was actually provided. An exception was the anomalous policy of the British Government to build cottages directly for Irish ex-servicemen, a programme that continued even after independence for the Irish Free State and partition for Northern Ireland were granted in 1922. Irish state housing thus formed a significant plank for colonial relations, and became a volatile issue in the ongoing three-way interplay between Westminster, the Castle Administration in Dublin, and Irish Nationalists. The pattern of cross-influence was that, in general, policy innovations were developed first in Ireland whereas design ideas came from Britain.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: John Bull's other homes: State housing and British policy in Ireland, 1883-1922
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; 1883-1922; British policy; Bull, John; Homes; Housing; Ireland
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101065
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