Terraced Housing



Seven O’clock, and there goes the alarm and for the first time with all the excitement to utilize the full day, I woke up fresh as a daisy. Me and my best friend had a proper English breakfast. Baked beans, fried tomato, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and a couple of potato wedges, which were almost the same size as the beans and it cost us as if we had ordered a full main-course in an Indian restaurant. Well, the prices are more ridiculous when one is on a holiday. After spending a week in Scotland, where majority of the foreigners were in Job Centre rather than the tourist information office, we came back to our home in West Yorkshire.

I had a nice meal and then went straight to bed, dreaming of the lovely greenery, small villages and high rise mountains. When I was about to get engulfed with these dreams, the alarm went off again at six in the morning and with half open red eyed swollen face, I stood up to check and there it was, my neighbours car anti-theft alarm, again. After he bothered to turn it off, I went back to bed dreaming the joys of peace and serenity. After two hours, the doorbell rang and someone bashed the door and I thought to myself, what have I done because it felt like a Police raid. I ran quickly downstairs and it was the postman who asked if I can keep my next door neighbours parcel as no one was answering. “Bloody hell”, I complemented and went back to my bed, eyes wide open thinking “why the hell…(a million questions)”, in short, how our patience is tested day in and day out. Then there it was, my most hated ice-cream van siren. He was here. Obviously by eleven, my neighbours kids started playing in the alleyway and I just couldn’t sleep. I went to the nearby store to buy some milk, after all I only slept for 5 hours – And lastly, to get me cursing – was next door shared accomodation – students playing loud thrash metal music. These are the few gifts of living in a terraced house.

Observing this type of cage based housing only in France, where even the commode and washbasin is a part of living room, this ludicrous idea of similarly looking row of houses with little or no room started after ‘The Great Fire of London’. There is simply no benefit of building terraced houses. Only thing to investigate is who has benefited from this bizarre idea. Browsing through to flush my displeasure, I came across Simon Thurley – the chief executive of English Heritage who stated, “To say that terraced housing causes problems is, to put a technical term on it, bollocks.” With all due respect to Mr Thurley, he forgot that the whole idea was initiated by Nicholas Barbon, whose name was as complicated as his vision of housing – Nicholas Unless-Jesus-Christ-Had-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbon. A few intellects who have preserved historic elements have another dimension to this – During the industrial revolution in the 19th century – particularly wool. The mill owners built terraced housing for factory workers without contemplating basic needs of people. The first wave of immigration during the 19th century who arrived to UK working in those mills initially thought of these terraced houses as storage warehouses – in fact, it turned out to be their homes with one bathroom in the street for all to share and later one shared in an accommodation of two to four rooms.

The sheer idiocy of this is – to date, they still exist and how big a compromise is this for families or couples in particular, when they have a two or three small bedroom townhouse. Thinking of this fuels my hatred for profiteering councils, building societies and housing associations who charge unbelievably ridiculous amounts of money consequently restricting people to save more to buy a decent house and pay their mortgage off. To me, this is a substandard construction not so famous and fondly looked upon by middle class people – the affluent are out of question as none would even bother to think about living in terraced houses. The argument from us is, take examples from Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham etc where there are a lot of right dangerous or worthless ‘ghettos’ where properties up for sale are one-third the price of average housing – still ridiculous though – but for the interest of people, why the government isn’t strict towards eradicating the crime and crackdown on infringement of morals of society and make it accessible for home seekers to buy at least semi-detached houses in reasonable prices.

It’s a common deep-seeded hatred amongst a lot of people I’ve spoken with. I just don’t get it. Idiots like Mr Prescott, Mr Darling and for a lot of others who’re responsible for the multi-cultural Britain and who speak loudly for ‘change’ and betterment for society cannot control illegal immigration – cannot scrutinize foreigners on the basis of merit and on top making it impossible for the ones living in Britain to live a peaceful life in a decent home.

Mansoor H Khan

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