The end of Co-partnership

Cross over Wavertree Nook Road and continue walking towards Thingwall Road. The housing layout on this side - the second phase of the Suburb's development - was the work of Co-partnership Tenants Ltd's architect, George Lister Sutcliffe. (Although a design competition had been held in 1911, and the prize awarded to Liverpool student J. N. Dixon, none of the entries was actually implemented). Todmorden-born Sutcliffe had been responsible for many of the house designs within Unwin's initial phase, as well as houses in Ealing, Letchworth and Hampstead Garden Suburb. He was clearly a very imaginative architect/planner, but was to die young - aged 51 - in 1915.

Turn left round the corner into Thingwall Road. As in Wavertree Nook Road - the meandering line of which can be recognised on old maps - the Garden Suburb's designers made a conscious effort to preserve the natural features of Thingwall Road intact. The wide grass verges were retained, and some of the houses - for example the block beginning with No.137 - were set back from the road to avoid the felling of existing trees. Walk on past this row of houses until you reach the Garden Suburb Institute.

The First World War brought all civilian building work to a halt. It also provided a pause for thought. Raymond Unwin was appointed as the government's Chief Town Planning Inspector, and a member of the Tudor Walters Committee, to plan Lloyd George's 'homes fit for heroes'. The result was the Housing and Town Planning Act of 1919, which established low-density, 'garden suburb' type housing as the norm and gave local authorities financial incentives to provide it. In addition, rent controls were introduced, which - combined with the effects of building cost inflation - made the co-partnership system increasingly uneconomic.

The terraced houses opposite the Institute were virtually the last to be built in Wavertree Garden Suburb. When construction ceased in 1915, 360 houses had been built out of the 1,800 originally planned. Liverpool Garden Suburb Tenants Ltd began to sell off its houses to individual owner-occupiers in the 1930s, and in 1938 the company was finally wound up, its land and remaining houses having been transferred to the (private) Conway Property Company. The undeveloped land had been sold to speculative house-builders, who proceeded to build standard-pattern semis such as those to be seen across Thingwall Road. Nowadays only a handful of the original Garden Suburb houses are still rented (from a private landlord), the remainder being owner-occupied.

The above is an extract from 'DISCOVERING HISTORIC WAVERTREE',
. © Mike Chitty 1999.
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