I Poked the Hornets’ Nest of Housing

For 7 years I lived in Papa’s small Scottish village where it was incredibly difficult to find a place to live. Rich landowners wouldn’t release land for houses and people who’d grown up in the village had very few options when they wanted to set up their own homes. “The Temperance” boarding house offered rooms and some young couples lived there, Hotels offered shared staff accommodation for some but not all of their workers. Many people either rented or bought a caravan so they could have some private space. Finding a site for a caravan was very difficult.

We lived in a caravan parked behind an old farmhouse, we had no piped water, used bottled gas for heating, cooking and lighting and shared one toilet with the people from 3 other caravans including a small child. Eventually we managed to get connected up to a coin in the slot electricity meter that connected to the old house. After Madeleine was born we applied for a Council House and like everyone else in a similar situation thought we were on a list and would eventually make our way to the top. The reality was different.

The government were offering incentives for industry to move to country places and housing was one of those incentives. Any people who came as part of the new industry had priority for housing even if they had no children. Families with children moving into the area simply because they liked it also had priority. What this meant for locals was that they never actually had a position on a list, they could never find out where they stood or when they were likely to be housed.

A whole new cIuster of Council Houses was being built and I organised a petition to the Council and although I can’t remember the exact wording of it we all wanted the majority of Council Houses set aside for local people and some way of knowing where we sat on a list. We didn’t ever get to see where we stood but luckily for us we did get one of the new houses and most of our neighbours were people who had grown up in the area.

You didn’t know that about Nana did you?


Author: macmsue

I’m a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and friend. I prefer to be outside and am interested in photography, nature and different cultures. I believe everything on this earth has a right to be here but some things and some people would be happiest if their space was far away from mine. (Flies and biting bugs take note!) I don’t like housework and think dust is Nature’s way of saying, “This is my space, I was here first.”

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