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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
theleveller Do you like 'Little Boxes'? (202* d) RE: Do you like 'Little Boxes'? 07 Apr 16

Although I never particularly liked it as a song, it did seem to sum up what was happening in Britain in the 60s, when estates of jerry-built 'executive' homes were being thrown up by the likes of Wimpey on green-belt land across the country and long-established communities of council tenants in terraces were being forcibly rehomed in brutalist monstrosities like Quarry Hill flats in Leeds.

I was fortunate that my eccentric parents resisted the temptation of these new houses (being in the building trade, my father railed against the shabby construction) and lived in a prefab (which everyone seemed to love) and rented accommodation until they'd saved enough for a deposit on a wonderful but ramshackle old house with few modern amenities, in a South Yorkshire mining village. So, whilst my school friends lived in centrally-heated comfort in new houses on the estate behind us, my brother and I had a marvellous, if chilly, childhood free-ranging amongst crumbling stables and ancient apple trees outside and spiders, mice, woodworm and ghosts inside.

My father was constantly trying to restore the house (or perhaps stop it falling down) and installed original Georgian fireplaces and panelling saved from the fires on demolition sites that he encountered during his work as a travelling salesman for a timber company. One day he arrived home with an early seventeenth century grandfather clock strapped to the roof of his car. It had cost him a princely 5 and it's the only family heirloom I have to this day, having refused to buy otherwise excellent houses because the ceilings were not high enough to accommodate it. I've restored many a crumbling ruin myself, including 15 years' work on the station house I now live in. No, I've never been one for little boxes made of ticky-tacky.

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