It’s often interesting to delve into the history of buildings and see how their usage has changed over the years. An example was quoted recently in the Lancashire Telegraph where an antiques centre in Bolton, originally used by the minister of the local United Reform Church, was originally passed for approval by Bolton’s planning committee to become a home for unmarried mothers. This substantial building was to be divided into seven bedsits for single mums in the area. The article did not elaborate on whether the planning consent granted in 1975 was ever taken forward and the building eventually became the antiques centre that it is today.
It’s strange that history has a way of repeating itself particularly in the wake of recent suggestions by the BNP that single parents should be housed in this way again. Since 1975 when this proposal was passed for approval, policies have changed somewhat where marginalised groups like unmarried mothers are not separated away from society but become very much a part of it. However, this type of exclusionist policy raised its head again recently where Labour’s vision for managing young single parents (16-17 year olds) by placing them in a network of supervised homes linked uncomfortably with BNP solutions for mother and baby homes for the under 21s. Needless to say, nothing much has been mentioned about it since.
So when wandering around antiques emporiums looking for antique furniture in Lancashire , London or other parts of the country, you may just consider that along with the histories of the items displayed, the buildings themselves may also have interesting social histories of their own.
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