Estates: An Intimate History
Britain's council estates have become a media shorthand for poverty, social mayhem, drugs, drink, and violence—the social ills they were built to cure. How did homes built to improve people's lives end up doing the opposite? Is their reputation fair, and if so who is to blame? Lynsey Hanley was born and raised on what was then the largest council estate in Europe, and she has lived for years on an estate in London's East End. Writing with passion, humor, and a sense of history, she recounts the rise of social housing a century ago, its adoption as a fundamental right by leaders of the social welfare state in mid-century, and its decline in the 1960s and 70s. What emerges is a vivid mix of memoir and social history, an engaging and illuminating book about a corner of society that the rest of Britain has left in the dark.