We take a look at what happened in the Logie project 100 years ago this month.
The sky is clear (from smoke) and the sun is out on this lovely winter’s day in February 1920. You can clearly see the blocks, along with some of the worker’s huts and tents. We can see from the bottom of the picture and James Thomson’s monthly report that the number of men employed has jumped up to 301 – 60 more than last month.
Applications were now open for the new homes – but the rates of rent had not yet been decided. This had been put off in December until an inspection of the homes. The inspection was carried out on 29th January. At the meeting of 2nd February, it was agreed that the first batch of houses would be ready for May. There was also a long discussion about rents – the suggested figures were 6s 6d for the smaller flats (i.e. one bedroom) and 8s 6d for the larger (i.e. the 2 bedroomed homes). Additionally there would be a charge of 2s and 2s 6d, respectively, for heating. This was agreed, subject to approval by the Board of Health, we’ll find out later in the year if this was approved.
On 3rd February the criteria for applicants was agreed. Preference was to be given to ex-servicemen who are married, or the widows of ex-servicemen, or ex-servicemen who were to be married. Special consideration was to be given for men who joined the war at the outbreak in 1914. Once all applicants who met this criteria were awarded places, the remaining homes were to be taken men or women with large families. Mr Stiven the Police Treasurer was appointed as the factor, meaning that he had to sort out all of the applications.
Forms were available from his office at 95 Commercial Street from 9am on 6th February. A large queue formed that morning in anticipation, with over 50 forms being given out. Those who had written to ask for a house were told to complete a form like everyone else. Application forms would be accepted until 28th February, after which all would be considered together. The Courier reported on 27th February that over 500 applications had been received and it was estimated that a large proportion met the criteria. Many were young couples married during or after the war, looking to set up their first home together.
An article from the Courier on 10th February describes how groups of people would just turn up at the building site to take a look at the homes. The area doesn’t seem to have been fenced off, and there was certainly no one wearing a yellow vest and a hard hat back then. Apparently one man was so confident he would be getting a house, he measured up all the rooms and told the workmen where he would put his furniture. Generally people seemed satisfied with the buildings, although they thought the rents were a bit too high. This is surprising considering they were being subsidised, but then house prices had been somewhat inflated since the war ended.
One interesting event was that on 12th February 1920, the Housing and Town Planning Committee decides to co-opt some lady members, who have experience of bringing up families as advisors on the needs of future homes. This was presumably in response to various criticisms of the layouts of proposed houses.