Series on British Clerics and the Public House, 1938: Index

Interwar Churchmen Favour Council Estate Pub

This subject was covered recently here in a four-part series. Below are links to each part, with a brief summary.

Part I. An Anglo-Catholic priest of prominence, Maurice Childs, supports public houses on emerging council estates:

British Clerics Boost the Public House, 1938. Part I. – Beer Et Seq


Part II. Motives of Maurice Child in light of biographical information; his plan garners editorial support:

British Clerics Boost the Public House, 1938. Part II. – Beer Et Seq


Part III. Anglican priest W.M. Peacock endorses proposal of Child, with gloss that German beer garden be adopted as model:

British Clerics Boost the Public House,1938. Part III. – Beer Et Seq


Part IV. Citizens, London social worker respond to Child-Peacock proposals pro- and con. Wrap-up of issue historically:

British Clerics Boost the Public House, 1938. Part IV (Final Part). – Beer Et Seq

Historically in parts of Britain, a pub adjoined a church. A current example appears below.


Image attribution: Gyula Péter. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Sourced from Wikipedia Commons page entitled “File:Kocsma a templom mellett (Pub next to the church) – panoramio.jpg”.

Note re image: Image is used for educational and research purposes. Its author is attributed as above, per requirements of Wikipedia Commons. All feedback welcomed.


4 thoughts on “Series on British Clerics and the Public House, 1938: Index”

  1. Thanks, that looks interesting. The tragedy at Grenfell seems to encapsulate a lot of the problems in the US — build huge numbers of shoddy units quickly at great expense, then veer to the other extreme of spending almost nothing.

    One positive thing about Child’s thinking is that he seemed to be trying to find middle ground and think through issues in good faith. We get a lot of pro forma analysis these days and bad faith arguments pretending to be good, although I’ll leave it to historians to weigh how things compare to different eras.

    • Thanks, Grenfell of course was a high-risk, its design post-dated the era in question which contemplated low-rise, I believe, although the book may suggest differently, I need to look at it again.

      But general point taken, with public involvement and maximum cost constraints, short-cuts may result, for the building itself or provision of usual adjunct services.

      The analogous areas in Toronto built in the 1950s did not afaik provide special shopping areas, which were nearby, and certainly not a pub, in that period or anytime probably. Not my usual patch though, I could be wrong!

  2. This is an interesting series, and I’m struck by the idea going back to the first post that this was basically a two part push for pub and church. I’d be awfully curious to what extent other pieces were being pushed by other people for the new estates, and to what extent they were public facilities or businesses. I could easily see various lobbies for gyms, playgrounds and libraries, as well as coffee and tea shops, theaters, and basic retail, but I have no idea whether there were ever coalitions formed among them all, or if they remained isolated to one or two at a time.

    One of the big failures of major public housing projects in the US in the 1950s and 60s was a general lack of anything else being included, including churches or bars. Kids could be lucky in a number of places to even get a playground. No coalitions emerged in most places for joint inclusion of multiple non-residential options, and I suspect in cases where people pushed for something besides just a giant block of housing, they were hampered by a lack of any common front with other interests.

    I think it’s a general problem with a lot of developers of both low and ultra-high end buildings. They want to maximize residential rents on a square foot basis, and don’t see the value of space for anything like pubs, churches, libraries or retail. But then those buildings struggle to rent to capacity over time. A lot has to do with the fact that developers get all of their money once a building is constructed, but the rest of us have to worry about sustainability of the neighborhood in the coming years.

    • All good questions, which really form part of the history of public housing in the UK. My understanding is the projects were sponsored either by the towns as such (so government), hence term “council home”, or in a joint venture between council and private developer.

      I didn’t venture far into the general issue, but did understand a community centre was often placed onsite, and sometimes a recreation centre on or near the site.

      One would think with 100% municipal projects, vs. the mixed form, there was more scope to include these, and possibly other amenities, given the economics you mentioned, but I don’t know.

      I ran across this book, earlier, which may address some of the questions you raised. Much of it seems fully readable (the upload I mean).


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