Friday, 8 February 2013

"Report on Home Visits by Assistant Housing Officer – Tenancies Commencing Oct 1970

"No of home visits = 103
Revisits = 34
All tenants seemed appreciative of visit and of being given opportunity to ask questions about local activities etc. The elderly, in particular expressed pleasure that the Corporation is concerned for their happiness in the new town, something which they say they did not experience in their dealings with other Landlords."

Hello and welcome to the first entry in a new blog by West Lothian Council Archives and Records Centre. This blog is going to use some of the archives we hold to try and give an insight into the early years of Livingston, West Lothian, as it was built from 1962-1996 by the Livingston Development Corporation. 

The blog is going to be based around the reports of the Assistant Housing Visitors who welcomed new tenants to the town from 1970-1978. The reports give a personal insight into a town that was only in its adolescence in the 1970s and had a variety of growing pains. The reports also record some of the vast social changes in Britain over the last forty years - this was still very much a time when women were meant to be "housewives" and men the "breadwinners".

From time to time we are going to explore some of the issues and themes raised in the housing visitor reports, hopefully to show how archives can be used for historical research, be it amateur or professional.

We hope you find this blog an informative and revealing look into the past, both of Livingston and of society in general . 

If you have any questions about Livingston and West Lothian archives please ask! More information on the Development Corporation can be found here here, on its archives here, and on West Lothian Council Archives and Records Centre here.

Now, back to October 1970 -

"A great deal of time has been spent visiting one very elderly gentleman who has come here from Rutherglen and wishes to be completely independent of his family (they are scattered all over the world). Unfortunately, he is not really capable of coping without assistance and the assistant housing officer is glad to report that several agencies in the town have adopted this gentleman. One of his greatest worries has been dealing with the “new fangled” gas warm air heating!! This confuses him and he worries about the possible cost. Social Security have been informed and are visiting.

Tenants who have complaints about their houses and who have not reported them to the Mall office have been urged to do so. Any case which has not been dealt with (in a reasonable time) has been discussed with the District Housing Officers and action has resulted very quickly.
Tenants in Bison Flats have complained about “dampness”. This is causing much distress, especially to mothers who have young children. If they have not been used to central heating, they are reluctant to accept that they must open very large windows to ventilate.
Burbank tenants complain of the noise from Gas central heating fans, and they do seem excessively noisy. Adelaide Street tenants are annoyed by the public using the pedestrian entrance way to the flats as a short cut to the Mall.
The local news sheets are obviously much appreciated and well read.
There are plenty of signs tenants of integrating into the life of the town quite quickly and 'good neighbours' abound.
It should be mentioned that a good working relationship with the Social Work team has been established."

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