Page 29 - Rural Housing Association Design Guide
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Design guide for social housing in rural Northern Ireland Considering the place: Rural Northern Ireland The evolution of the provision of rural social housing Rural agitation in the later decades of the nineteenth century in Ireland delivered the gradual achievement of tenant After the war the process of rural social house-building was continued up to 1973 by the Rural District Councils who rights and eventually resulted in the transfer of the ownership of the land from the landlords to the former tenant farmers. re-housed many of the remaining occupiers of unfit, older rural cottages and met the growing demand from new rural Along with this profound change in rural Irish life and economy, further improvements followed with the progressive provi- households as living standards improved, mobility increased and rural depopulation eased. sion of decent, basic housing for farm labourers. The Labourers (Ireland) Act 1906 was the basis for the provision of 40,000 rural cottages built for rent by the County Councils in the 5 years before the commencement of the Great War in 1914. While standard house types were widely used, there were considerable variations between districts. Some Rural District Councils extensively built clusters or terraces of up to 20 houses throughout the countryside, along with larger social hous- The earliest labourers’ cottages were distinctive roadside houses of sound construction with basic but greatly improved ing developments within villages and small towns. accommodation and gardens sufficiently large to provide for a considerable part of a family’s food needs. For their occupants these houses were a paradise, compared to the damp, tiny hovels they replaced. They were generally built After 1973 the provision and management of social housing became the sole responsibility of a new regional housing to “pattern book” designs, varying between County Councils, resulting in significant regional diversity. authority, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. For the next 20 years the Housing Executive implemented a major programme of new house construction across the Region. Consistent with prevailing planning policy, however, they built These houses provided security and stability for those who had previously survived a precarious existence at the bottom very few dwellings in the open countryside but erected large numbers of new homes for rent in the settlements. of the social order; rural labourers without either job or tenure security, dependent on casual labouring, moving from place to place, with families frequently ravaged by infectious diseases. They provided decent accommodation for the In recent years Housing Associations have become more prominent in rural house building; the result of a major shift in rural labouring class, supplied farmers with a steady supply of reliable labour and helped stabilise rural communities, after social housing policy. The role of the Housing Executive is now primarily managing their existing stock and assessing need. the generations of emigration, dispersion and uncertainty that followed the Great Famine. This successful provision of early rural social housing was added to by the Rural District Councils of the North throughout the Inter War period. This second generation of “labourers’ cottages” tended to be larger, often with three bedrooms, typically one and a half and two storey detached and semi-detached roadside houses, again with large gardens, during a period when little social housing was provided in the towns and villages. The “half acre garden” for food production. Often had a “coal shed” and other out- buildings. Often one and a half or two storey, semi - de- tached and two room depth. Located along the roadside, often with walled boundaries. Common characteristics of rural social housing built by the Rural District Councils after the Great War. NIHE designed and built social housing at Killough, Co.Down. The local architectural features of the village have been replicated, particularly the tall chimneys, resulting in a well mannered street of notable character. 28 29
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