Author Topic: Shared housing in the 1920s  (Read 1429 times)

Offline Annie65115

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Shared housing in the 1920s
« on: Wednesday 14 December 22 19:11 GMT (UK) »
I used (in the 1980s) to live in a large Edwardian terrace. Whilst subsequently most have been turned into multioccupancy student houses, there was no indication of any alterations having been done when I lived there.

Next door was an elderly man who had been born there in the 1920s and said that the attic rooms in the houses were servant's quarters until WW2, when all the servants left and basically never came back!

Anyway, I've been looking at the 1921 and 1939 lists and found that in 1921, 3 separate households are enumerated in my old residence. They are all on separate scheules, different names etc, and the schedules say that each household occupies "7 shared rooms". I'm thinking about how this would have worked in my old house.

There was a 2 room cellar but no suggestion it had even been lived in. Ground floor - hall, 2 reception, kitchen, washroom (next door still had the old copper in there). First floor - 2 large bedrooms, 1 single bedroom, bathroom, another toilet (I don't know when all that got plumbed in but this was a fairly middle class part of town, I suspect the houses were built with indoor bathrooms, there were no outdoor privies). Top floor - 2 more rooms and a box room (ther "servant's quarters). All the larger bedrooms had fireplaces and of course the reception rooms did too.

So all I can think is that each household had a separate floor to use as their own space, and shared the kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Did the lower middle classes/white collar workers live in this way in the 1920s?

The households-
1. a ladies costumier working from home
2. a motor car salesman and his typist wife
3. A steel works clerk, his wife and their child.
Bradbury (Sedgeley, Bilston, Warrington)
Cooper (Sedgeley, Bilston)
Kilner/Kilmer (Leic, Notts)
Greenfield (Liverpool)
Holyland (Anywhere and everywhere, also Holiland Holliland Hollyland)
Pryce/Price (Welshpool, Liverpool)
Rawson (Leicester)
Upton (Desford, Leics)
Partrick (Vera and George, Leicester)
Marshall (Westmorland, Cheshire/Leicester)

Offline chris_49

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Re: Shared housing in the 1920s
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 15 December 22 13:11 GMT (UK) »
I can't speak for the middle classes (my lot are mostly dead common) but I have found some shockingly overcrowded working-class households on the 1921 - 9 or 10 in a supposed 3-roomed house (kitchen not counted, I assume).

More relevant for you, perhaps, is the house I found where there are (all on one page so squeezed in) Twelve people in Four households in a six-roomed house.

I mustn't give the 1921 page, but the households are:
Single man, 51, broker and general dealer, works from home (where does he find the space?)
Married couple, 38 and 34, he also "Head", copper tube sawyer.
Widow 46, with her daughter, 14, son 9, and grandson,1. Not called "Head" only "Wife" but she's clearly head of her own household because she is not related to the others, no occupation.
(After a line across) Man 60, wife 45, two stepsons 17 and 14, son 2. He "fettler".

Perhaps the widow is the single man's partner, but why below the other couple except to confuse? She's no relation to anyone in the other households - I checked MMNs of her children, though no marriage found to their father. Likewise, the grandson is a son of her illegitimate daughter using her married name - but again, no marriage found corresponding to his birth.

The final couple are not married either, presumably because she is still legally married to the father of her elder sons (these are my relatives). Her husband is elsewhere, having remarried presumably because his wife vanished a decade earlier - not found on the 1911.

The only conclusion that make sense is that each household is living in one of the four bedrooms - so four and five to a room in two cases. This in the century I remember.

Skelcey (Skelsey Skelcy Skeley Shelsey Kelcy Skelcher) - Warks, Yorks, Lancs <br />Hancox - Warks<br />Green - Warks<br />Draper - Warks<br />Lynes - Warks<br />Hudson - Warks<br />Morris - Denbs Mont Salop <br />Davies - Cheshire, North Wales<br />Fellowes - Cheshire, Denbighshire<br />Owens - Cheshire/North Wales<br />Hicks - Cornwall<br />Lloyd and Jones (Mont)<br />Rhys/Rees (Mont)

Offline Top-of-the-hill

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Re: Shared housing in the 1920s
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 15 December 22 17:17 GMT (UK) »
  I have just looked at 1921 for the street of early Victorian terraces in Chelsea, where a relative lived in the 1950s, sharing with another family. The house had a half basement and 3 further floors, but only 2 rooms on each floor. Several of the houses in 1921 have 5 separate schedules. The houses may have varied in size a bit, but I wouldn't think by much. (They are much posher now.)
   I haven't paid to open up any of the records!
Pay, Kent
Codham/Coltham, Kent
Kent, Felton, Essex
Staples, Wiltshire