In December 1926, when debating the various options for the improvement of working-class housing in the city, Bath City Council decided on Southdown as a favourable site for development. By the end of 1928, 270 homes had been constructed to a plan and style resonant of the garden city movement. Clydeside MP John Wheatley was the chief architect of the Act of Parliament that subsidised the construction of the Southdown estate and countless others around the country. Wheatley was determined that houses constructed under the 1924 Housing Act should be high quality dwellings let at affordable rents, referring to them as ‘homes not hutches’.
The Southdown estate provides a window into one of the most momentous periods in British housing history. This short walk around the neighbourhood presents some dramatic views, passes through one of the city’s less well-known parks and visits what, on the scheme’s completion, the Chair of the Bath Housing Committee declared to be ‘a credit to the city’.
This is an accessible walk mainly on pavements, and can be adapted if people have particular access requirements.