A block of 25 houses, built by the British Amalgamated Steel Smelters Association in 1902, on land owned by Sir Berkeley Sheffield in Crosby is featured in the photograph here.
An article in the Lindsey & Lincolnshire Star on 17th May 1902 reports that the houses on Grosvenor Street all have ‘bay windows’ facing west and on the ground floor an entrance hall and passageway, a spacious front room, a living room, kitchen and pantry. Upstairs there were two large bedrooms, one smaller one and a splendidly arranged and fitted bathroom. In the yard there was a good wash-house, coalhouse and ample space left for a garden and clothes drying space.
The houses were originally built for the open-hearth smelters who were coming into the town from places like South Wales to operate the new melting hearths at the steelworks. At the time there was a lack of suitable housing for what was a relatively well paid work-force and so Grosvenor Street was a response to that. The houses were considered to be well built and well supplied with water with just two houses sharing one well. The area was also considered to be low rated and a healthy part of the town for people to live.
It was reported that the contract for the building of the houses had been difficult to let, as many builders had been frightened on account of fixing up the bathrooms.
After an inspection of the site, invited guests sat down to and ‘enjoyable tea’ at The Lord Roberts Hotel which was served ‘in good style.’
In speeches following the tea both the builder and the architect were praised for their excellent work and it was thought by the speaker that it would be hard to find houses that were more convenient for women. The ready supply of hot and cold water as well as a nice kitchen was considered to be ‘very nice for washing day.’
It was felt by one speaker that the inclusion of a living room would mean the husband “would not have to sit with the smell of cooking herrings under his nose after each days hard work.”
Each house had cost £300 to build and was reported that no profit would be made on selling them. It would be possible for the householder to buy their property over 15 years, making payments either weekly, fortnightly or quarterly or as it suited the purchaser.
The project was considered to be pioneering as far as the history of the trade union was concerned and its success was dependent on the members of the British Amalgamated Steel Smelters Association themselves. Also dependent on this success was another row of houses planned for the opposite side of the street. It was reported that applications for the houses were coming in well and that it was thought the houses would be all be occupied.