Ref. No.: KB242
Date of Photo: 1970.
View of a block of flats on the Tower Hill estate being constructed. When the Second World War ended Kirkby returned to normal for a few years. The Worker's Hostel, near Kirkby Station, became for 3 years an Emergency Training College. In 1947, the Liverpool City Council, realising the importance of developing industry and housing in parallel, purchased 4,070 acres of land (including almost all of Kirkby) from the Earl of Sefton for £375,000, and immediately set about the task of designing a plan for development of their 'second complete community unit' (the first being Speke Estate). The original plan was outlined in a report presented to the Liverpool Housing Committee on 6th May 1948, by Sir Lancelot Keay, who was then City Architect and Director of Housing. This plan was designed to cover an area of approx. 1,350 acres, with 680 acres adjoining, reserved for open space. In November 1949, planning permission for the whole of the Southdene neighbourhood was received and construction began in February 1950. The first houses were finished in 1952. The five thousandth dwelling was completed in June 1956. The ten thousandth in September 1961. Peak production was during the year 1958. The development of Kirkby, at such a rate, caused tremendous problems. Between 1951 and 1961 the population of Kirkby increased from 3,100 to 52,207. The provision of amenities had not kept pace with the housing development. Although the first houses in Southdene were occupied in 1952, the first shops were not completed until 1955 and the first public house did not open until 1959. The original plans for the estimated populations of the estates of Northwood, Southdene, Westvale and Tower Hill were far exceeded. Many people were moved from the Abercromby, Low Hill and Smithdown electoral wards of Liverpool to Kirkby.