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    Re-housing the Urban Poor in Irish Country Towns, 1880-1947: A Case Study of Sligo


    Gallagher, Fiona Martina (2016) Re-housing the Urban Poor in Irish Country Towns, 1880-1947: A Case Study of Sligo. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    Despite the numerous works on the poor housing conditions of Irish famihes from the 1850s to the 1940s, little research has been conducted to date on the provincial Irish towns. In order to closer investigate the dreadful dwelling conditions endured by the Irish urban poor at the start of the twentieth century, this thesis examines the origin of poor-quality housing in Sligo, the rapid growth in population that led to its emergence, and the nature of political will, economic conditions, tenancies and landholdings which fostered its perpetuation until the 1940s. The case study examines, in overview, the housing situation in Sligo in comparison to other provincial towns of a similar size, and sets this against the national backdrop of the major changes in housing policies and practices after 1880, which culminated in the great public housing drive of the 1930s and 1940s. Housing-related health issues, such as infant mortality and infectious disease are examined in the light of the appalling housing conditions in Irish towns by 1914. The central question posed by this research was to ascertain if Sligo suffered from the problem of sub-standard insanitary housing to a greater or lesser extent than other similar sized Irish towns. A secondary aim was to evaluate the success of the post-1932 housing drive in Sligo, in relation to several other selected provincial towns, and to determine the degree to which Sligo benefited from this new departure in housing strategy after 1932. Crucially, the question will be asked if this unprecedented investment in subsidised public housing had a measurable impact on contemporary lifestyles, health, education and social improvement. From the statistical data gathered and analysed, it is clear that Irish provincial towns were home to slums that were every bit as bad as those found in the larger Irish cities. Substantial population growth and a meagre industrial base, combined with poor employment prospect in a largely subsistencebased agricultural economy, led to a drift of landless labourers to market towns, and the proliferation of cabin-type slums in all Irish provincial towns from the 1820s onwards. This situation was not to be resolved until the radical interventionist state polices of a native Irish government after 1932.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Re-housing; Urban Poor; Irish Country Towns; 1880-1947; Case Study; Sligo;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > History
    Item ID: 10421
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2019 16:39
    URI:

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