Ghost playparks and ghost bus stops: the archaeological traces of a provincial post-war English council estate

Waites, Ian (2013) Ghost playparks and ghost bus stops: the archaeological traces of a provincial post-war English council estate. In: The Transformation of Urban Britain Since 1945, 9-10 July 2013, Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Much of the transformation of urban Britain in the post-World War Two period was borne out of the development of the welfare state – most specifically with the creation of many state-funded, local authority controlled ‘council estates’. By 1979, nearly half the British population lived in a council house. Since then, however, many council estates have been subject to a process of planned neglect, brought about by gradual disinvestment and waning support for the social democratic ideals of the post-war years.

This paper will highlight what has been referred to as the ‘unmaking’ of this particular aspect of post-war urban Britain by examining the design and development of a 1960s council estate in Lincolnshire, and the subsequent removal of some of its original features. The paper will argue that these changes contributed to the gradual deterioration of the estate by ruining the original cohesion of its planning. More crucially, it will be noted that the residualisation of the estate today has been compounded by a number of strange, archaeological traces of those original features that would be imperceptible and largely meaningless to anyone but the original residents of the estate. By combining aspects of architectural and planning history, social history and, in particular, first-hand experiences of life on the estate, the paper will highlight the need for detailed archaeological studies of our contemporary urban past as a reflection upon the everyday lived experiences of the post-war council estate as it was originally conceived, and as an expression of time and change there.

Keywords:Council Estates, Contemporary Archaeology, Memory, phenomenology
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K320 Landscape studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V214 English History
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
L Social studies > L726 Cultural Geography
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Art & Design
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ID Code:12631
Deposited On:04 Dec 2013 16:58

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