In this final episode of Season 1, we explore a lesser known chapter in the tumultuous history of housing in Belfast. Marianne Elliott, a retired professor of history, walks us through the place she grew up.
The estate in North Belfast where Marianne’s family lived was built as part of a radical experiment in social housing. Its successes and its failures hold important lessons for a city still struggling with how to build a shared future.
The “Snakey Path”, leading from the Throne Wood on the Antrim Road down into the White City estate. Photograph: Rebekah McCabe.
Marianne Elliott standing at the top of the "Snakey Path" at the White City estate, with Belfast Lough in the background. Photograph: Rebekah McCabe.
Translink Metro bus stop at the White City estate. Photograph: Rebekah McCabe.
View up towards Cave Hill from the White City estate. Faults were discovered in the prefab Orlit concrete of the original estate and new houses replaced them in the 1980s and 1990s. Photograph: Rebekah McCabe.
The wide streets and flat roofed modernist houses of the original estate, seen here in the late 1940s. Photograph courtesy Blackstaff Press.
View from the Antrim Road above the White City estate, looking out towards Belfast Lough. Photograph: Rebekah McCabe.
Marianne with uncle Charlie at the original White City estate, built by the NI Housing Trust from 1947-49. Photograph: Rebekah McCabe.
Marianne Elliott's Hearthlands - A Memoir of the White City Housing Estate in Belfast was published in 2017 by Blackstaff Press.
The Infinite City is a production of PLACE, Northern Ireland's Built Environment Centre. Make sure you subscribe in your podcast app or on iTunes to get new episodes as soon as they are released.
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The Infinite City is produced by Rebekah McCabe and Conor McCafferty for PLACE. Graphic design for Season One by Maria Postanogova. Music for Season One by Conor McCafferty. Script support from Stuart Gray and Kelsey Hanson.
Thanks to our sponsors, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Arts & Business Northern Ireland.
The Infinite City is our podcast. Through it, we tell stories of people and place, design and belonging, survival and celebration in Belfast & beyond.
Supported by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios & Arts & Business NI.
Music for Season One composed by Conor McCafferty.
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