The life and death of a council estate shopping area: ‘The Precinct’, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire 1965-2000

Waites, Ian (2011) The life and death of a council estate shopping area: ‘The Precinct’, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire 1965-2000. In: The History and Heritage of Post-war Council Estates: Exploring Changing Landscapes and Cultural Life , 30 June 2011, Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln.

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Abstract

On the 27th of March 1965, the actress Pat Phoenix (a.k.a. ‘Elsie Tanner’ from ITV’s Coronation Street) came to the newly completed Middlefield Lane Estate in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, to formally open the first unit on a new block of shops called ‘The Precinct’. Thirty-five years after it was opened however, The Precinct was demolished, apparently because of a ‘long history of low demand, serious vandalism and unlettability’ [sic]. How did a celebrated and vibrant communal amenity end up as a case of what appears to be ‘planned neglect’? By combining aspects of architectural, social, and reminiscence history, this paper will initially consider The Precinct as an interesting example of mid-sixties provincial architectural modernism, and then in terms of the rich history of its shops and their different social and cultural functions within the life of the estate during the 60s and 70s. It will be argued that The Precinct was a model of the optimism and cultural multiplicity of those decades, and its demise a product of what Patrick Wright has described as ‘a wider dereliction in the relation between history and the present’.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:On the 27th of March 1965, the actress Pat Phoenix (a.k.a. ‘Elsie Tanner’ from ITV’s Coronation Street) came to the newly completed Middlefield Lane Estate in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, to formally open the first unit on a new block of shops called ‘The Precinct’. Thirty-five years after it was opened however, The Precinct was demolished, apparently because of a ‘long history of low demand, serious vandalism and unlettability’ [sic]. How did a celebrated and vibrant communal amenity end up as a case of what appears to be ‘planned neglect’? By combining aspects of architectural, social, and reminiscence history, this paper will initially consider The Precinct as an interesting example of mid-sixties provincial architectural modernism, and then in terms of the rich history of its shops and their different social and cultural functions within the life of the estate during the 60s and 70s. It will be argued that The Precinct was a model of the optimism and cultural multiplicity of those decades, and its demise a product of what Patrick Wright has described as ‘a wider dereliction in the relation between history and the present’.
Keywords:Council Estates, Post-war History, 1945 on, Architectural History
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V214 English History
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K421 Urban Planning
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V360 History of Architecture
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V321 Local History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Art & Design
ID Code:5729
Deposited By: Ian Waites
Deposited On:31 May 2012 15:57
Last Modified:28 Aug 2014 09:27

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