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ISLINGTON HOUSING NEWS SUPPLEMENT
HISTORY OF CITY HOUSING NO.10

 

1. JAMIE IN SCOTLAND

As the old Queen Elizabeth stood dying, her heir James of Scotland could hardly wait to get away from his homeland.

Scotland of 1603 was a bleak and cruel country. The English invaded and pillaged it. The Scots fought ferociously amongst themselves.

Citizens huddled in their high tenements behind the protection of the city walls.

2. OLD EDINBURGH

Edinburgh the capital of Scotland was a crowded city with over 8000 people crammed into 700 houses.

But what houses! Built of stone, many towered to 10, some say 13, storeys high.

Amenities were primitive but the houses (or "lands") were solidly built. Some 17th century tenements were still standing this century.

How many of present blocks will survive the next 30 years - let alone 300 years?

3. JAMES IN ENGLAND

James I of England, was a funny, grubby little man. He never washed and his skin took on the texture of black velvet.

He had many phobias. He was afraid of witches, being sent back to Scotland and of fire.


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4. JAMES AND FIRE

James had good reason to be afraid of fire in London. Many of the houses were timber framed and the upper storey projected above the ground.

Often the upper storeys were so close that neighbours could shake hands - or exchange blows.

James tried to stop the construction of such houses. He also encouraged the use of brick and stone rather than wood.

He wanted to be remembered for finding London a town of sticks and leaving it a city of bricks.

But too many houses were still wooden and James" fears about fire were to be justified.


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