Images of Hulme’s once maligned Tower Blocks will be featured among 3,500 digitized images of 1980’s concrete developments as part of a new Heritage Lottery Project

The notorious development, built in the 1960’s, and which have recently undergone a facelift, will feature in a ‘Domesday Book’ of the UK’s post-war reconstruction.

It will contain images of every single multi-storey public housing project ever constructed in Britain, including ones destroyed more than 30 years ago.

The three-year Heritage Lottery-funded project will digitise the images taken in the 1980s and make them fully searchable as part of the Tower Block Slide Archive. Apart from Hulme,the Red Road and Gorbals schemes in Glasgow, the Everton flats in Liverpool, Birmingham’s Chelmsley Wood, and London estates such as Broadwater Farm, Thamesmead and Roehampton will be captured.

Professor Miles Glendinning, Head of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies at Edinburgh College of Art, which will be coordinating the scheme said: “We hope this project will help contribute to the ongoing shift in public attitudes towards the post-war Modernist housing heritage, which is fast turning from an object of dislike and alienation into a force for potential community empowerment.

“Council tower blocks were once the most prominent and dramatic legacy of the post-1945 reconstruction drive, but mass demolitions over the past 35 years, still continuing today, have depleted this vast heritage, leaving it obscured or incomprehensible to the public at a time when popular interest in post-war Modernist heritage is sharply increasing.”

The £52,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help digitise the photographs and support local outreach initiatives which encourage high-rise residents to tell their stories, and aid them in telling community histories. The project will be completed in late 2017.


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