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A Broom Cupboard of One's Own by Ross Clark

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The century-long ‘boom’ which has made us poorer

THE HOARDINGS ERECTED by Wates Homes outside the Heathway Park Estate in Mitcham in the early 1930s reached over the road and formed a gateway into another world: one in which the masses could transform themselves from rent-payers to property-owners. “Guaranteed modern houses, brick built throughout,” they read. “Nearly every house has a garage space. Prices from £315 to £530.”

The early 1930s are synonymous with economic depression. It is a time remembered for hunger marches, for lingering slums, for families living on bread and margarine, for tuberculosis and no state healthcare. But if you had a job and at least eight shillings a week to spare and aspired to buy your own home, times had ...

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