Archive for 06/11/2014

Municipal Dreams

In 1933, Neville Chamberlain opened Birmingham’s 40,000th post-war council dwelling at 30, Hopstone Road on the Weoley Castle Estate.

Chamberlain, Hopstone Road 1933 2

Chamberlain acknowledged the cost of this ambitious building programme but he asserted: (1)

I do not think there is a ratepayer who will grudge that burden, or will be otherwise than glad to have made that contribution to enable his fellow citizens to live the lives of human beings and not of wild beasts.

These are not perhaps the values of the contemporary Conservative Party.

Castle Road ©Weoley Castle Library Castle Road ©Weoley Castle Library

The overwhelming majority of these new homes were built in Birmingham’s new cottage suburbs.  In the first flush of post-war idealism under the 1919 Housing Act, these homes were both expansive and expensive.  After housing subsidies were slashed in 1921, the majority of later homes would be smaller and non-parlour – on the Weoley Castle Estate only a little over ten per cent…

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Powerscourt Garden Pavilion

Skimmias are valuable evergreens with two seasons of interest: spring flowers and winter berries. But, mostly, they come in male and female varieties so that you need two different plants, one of each, to ensure that those bright scarlet berries are produced on just one of them.

‘Temptation’ is different. The plants are self-fertile, only one plant is needed for the fruit to develop, so all plants of ‘Temptation’ produce berries without another plant nearby for pollination.

The other problem with some of the older varieties is that although they may stay small, they eventually become uncomfortably tall for many modern gardens. ‘Tempation’ is shorter, and more bushy, so makes a more effective garden plant. Its root growth is strong and its berries are a much brighter red.

‘Temptation’ is sufficiently compact to make a good two season container plant, and also thrives in any fairly well-drained garden soil in…

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