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Estates: An Intimate History Paperback – 18 Jan 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Paperback, 18 Jan 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (18 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862079099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862079090
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,002,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham in 1976 and moved to London to study in 1994. Her first book, Estates: an Intimate History, was published by Granta Books in January 2007. She has written an introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Richard Hoggart's 1957 book The Uses of Literacy, and is currently working on her second book.

She contributes commentary pieces, arts features and book reviews to The Guardian and the New Statesman, and has written for The Observer, the Times Literary Supplement, Prospect, RSA Journal, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, and the Sunday Times. She has appeared on BBC2's Newsnight; BBC Radio 4's Start The Week, Analysis, and The World at One; BBC Radio 3's Night Waves and Sunday Feature; BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio London and Resonance FM.In November 2010 she wrote and presented Wall in the Mind, a series of three programmes about class and social mobility, for BBC Radio 4.

Her main areas of interest are social class; economic, social and spatial segregation; the British education system; public policy; built-up areas; mass media and popular culture. Through these themes she tries to examine how individuals interact with their physical, cultural and social environments. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Product Description

Review

"(A) passionate and engaging book... I think Hanley's book is
destined to create a watershed in British housing policy" -- Observer

"(An) engrossing story of council housing since the war... (an)
absorbing book"
-- The Times (Roy Hattersley)

"A highly engaging book" -- Book Magazine

"A rich, thought-provoking book"
-- The Observer

"An account of council housing (that is) not just readable but
interesting and moving" -- Scotland on Sunday

"Articulate, savage, poignant, engaged and vividly descriptive" -- Sunday Times

"Hanley writes with an ironic, characteristically Brummie sense of
humour and cutting sarcasm, which makes the book colourfully readable." -- New Statesman

"This study of the rise and decline of council housing is fuelled
by unusual passion and vision" -- Evening Standard

"Written with a passion born of first-hand experience, the author
takes a commendably balanced view... humble, honest and, yes, intimate" -- The List

Hanley's Estates is many things - social history, memoir, mild
polemic... honest, informed and never whimsical... well-timed and truthful
-- Telegraph (Andy Miller)

About the Author

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham and lives in London. She writes for the Observer and the New Statesman. This is her first book.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For me personally, a university student who grew up in a council estate, to read a book which was both academic and personal was refreshing. Lynsey Hanley uses her own experience growing up on an estate in Birmingham to describe the social problems that exist our estates today. More importantly she reveals our views as a nation to social housing, unveiling deeper issues of class in the UK.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the most interesting argument in her book was her description of `walls in the head' that culturally there are barriers between the working and underclass and the middle-classes. Myself I have experience these walls, and I found her personal account very reminiscent of my own experiences. I think this would also be an interesting read for anyone who have never been to a council estate to learn more about public housing in the UK.
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I enjoyed Lynsey Hanley's social history of the council estate in modern Britain,and agreed with much that she said.I cannot believe that we would allow those other tenets of the Welfare State-namely the NHS and the education system to deteriorate to such a degree as we have allowed social housing to reach in the first part of the 21st century. Council estates still have a stigma-though aways have. They are undesireable places where undesireable people,but what makes people become the lowest part of society. They are the easiest people to push around, as Lynsey says of the education system on council estates no expectations are encouraged,so they will continue to play to the role that society has given them.The future certainly does not look encouraging with the restriction and cap on housing benefit, the reduction of benefits, and the general hopelessness of people at the bottom of the pile for whatever reason.
Lynsey Hanley gives a personal view of life on council estates both in Birmingham and London. Her views are also her own based on experience,contact and background reading on the subject.
The book makes you think about the aspect of social housing-sounds better than council estates.-and for those who have never lived on council estates a glimpse into what life is like-though the concepts are pushed through the likes of Waterloo Road and Shameless,do people strive to live upto the stereotype.
This is required reading for those who want to know what has happened to social housing over the last fifty years from Bevan to Pickles
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As a foreigner living, working and studying in the UK in mostly well-to-do circles, my limited one-sided understanding of council estates before reading this book was that, the people living in there were lazy, that they rely on state benefits, watch TV all day and are leeches of the society.

This book has really opened my eyes about the circumstances people living on estates found themselves to be in, and made it clear that while individuals have responsibilities of their lives, their environment can trap them in and make it extremely hard to get out, and that pure meritocracy is a lie.

I found out about this book from a research project on the media portrayal of 'chavs' and this book provided a really good background. I recommend it to anyone doing research on Britain's underclass. I also recommend it to anyone holding prejudice against people living on estates. It's easy to fear and hold prejudices against something you don't know, and some understanding can help with that.
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Format: Paperback
A fascinating trawl through the history of social housing provision in the UK since the construction of the historic Boundary Estate in Bethnal Green in 1893. Hanley's account really comes to life in the book's pivotal chapter, "Slums in the Sky" with shocking tales of corner cutting and well meaning modernism. Erno Goldfinger - rehabilitated in some quarters in recent years - is firmly back in the Naughty Seat although a one bedroom apartment in his Trellick Tower will still set you back over £400,000.

The book is polemical and comes across as more passionate as a result. The Conservative administration of Harold Macmillan is blamed for many of the ills. The book could perhaps have done with a little more international material - "La Haine" and Chicago's Cabrini Green are mentioned and it is crying out for an index, but overall, this is essential reading. Hanley's most interesting question revolves around the stigma of council housing - why are we embarrassed to have our homes provided for by the state when there is no such outcast status associated with free education or health? That Mrs. Thatcher was a great brainwasher.
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Format: Paperback
Gives an insight into the author's experiences of living on council estates. Also provides details of the historical origins of council houses, the more recent sales of properties to tenants, and the wholesale transfers to registered social landlords. Plenty to think about, for example in 1979 almost half the UK population lived in council properties, and the income gap between rich and poor was at it's narrowest ever. 99.9% of the book is well written, just 3 or 4 paragraphs that I had trouble with.
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Format: Paperback
A very interesting book that mixes social history with the personal experience of the author on the subject of the UK's council housing estates. The author grew up on an estate on the edge of Birmingham and then as an adult lived on an estate in inner London, so knows all too well the difficulties faced by residents of these areas.

The book looks at the history of council houses, from the slum clearances, the building of estates, then towerblock, and Thatcher's selling off the stock with "Right to Buy". The historical parts, although fairly familiar to me, were interesting and I was particularly interested in the parts about Modernist architecture, a style I have a soft-spot for in terms of public buildings (my uni was a notable example), but is so wrong for homes. However, where the book really came alive was the part about her childhood, how she always felt different from other in her estate school, and how her horizons were broadened doing her A levels at a college with a mixture of social classes - this made me think about the tragedy of so many children being written off so young. The author also raised the thought-provoking point about why has state-provided housing become so stigmatised, whilst we don't feel the same about state schools or healthcare.

On the whole, I agree with her opinions, although her comments about large families waiting for houses rankled me a bit as whilst I agree there shouldn't be such shame in council housing, I do believe that since the housing shortage in the South is well-known that there needs to be some personal responsibility. Also she doesn't have any real solutions to the genuine problem families that exist on these estates and glosses over this. The optimistic note the book ends on, having been written a couple of years ago, now seems naive given the current Government.
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