100 years of Tang Hall

This week we’re welcoming a guest blog from IPUP placement student Charles Newton who has been doing work with Councillor George Norman to prepare for the Tang Hall Centenary celebrations.

The Tang Hall estate might not bring to mind heritage or history, but when it was built just after the First World War it was the first council estate of its kind, a bold project that sought to give York’s working classes good quality homes and a better standard of life. In 2021 the estate turns 100, and we want to help Tang Hall residents celebrate what is important to them about the 100 years it has been serving the city. Obviously, the Covid-19 crisis has meant this project has hit some major delays and uncertainties about what events and engagements are possible but the hope is for the centenary to be celebrated this year and next when restrictions allow it. 

The Tang Hall Estate started construction in 1921 as part of a nationwide drive to build decent affordable housing for the countries workers. By the end of February 1921 the first houses in Carter Avenue were completed, and work was in hand in 4th and 8th Avenues. Following the demolition of the Walmgate and Hungate Slums, many workers and their families were moved to the Tang Hall Estate which provided for many their first step into decent housing. Furthermore, Tang Hall or Hull Road Park was developed and opened in the late 1920s to provide access to green open spaces for the new residents of the Tang Hall estate.

The development of the Tang Hall estate in the 1920s and the inter-war period provides a clear example of the benefits provided by social housing as a uniquely collectivist endeavour following the upheavals of the First World War, to not only build more houses but better houses.

As we approach the centenary, it is important as ever to remember the importance of community spirit that this project embraced to create ‘Garden Cities,’ streets lined with trees resembling mini villages. Following the 1919 Housing Act then Prime Minister Lloyd George’s call to build houses fit for heroes was fully recognised in York in the form of Tang Hall estate.

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