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Local Politics

The Windsor Labour Party Publications of 1945 and 1946

II. 1946 - 'Your Windsor Takes Shape'

See also

I. Labour Party 'Your Windsor' of 1945

The following was published by the Windsor Labour Party in the autumn of 1946. In 1945 the Labour Party nationally had won the General Election, defeating Winston Churchill, and locally the Windsor Labour Party had won a small majority on the borough council. This booklet was produced to illustrate what had been achieved in Windsor over the previous twelve months.

The text of this booklet 'Your Windsor Takes Shape' has been electronically scanned and checked but it may be that errors have crept in. Do please advise the editor if you identify anything that should be corrected. To contact us, please email Thamesweb Editor.

YWTS Front Cover

The Front Cover

Modern Planning - A Sketch of a typical Close on a new housing estate as planned by Mr Chitty


Inside Front Cover

Permanent Traditional Houses

A view of some of the first 32 being built. These are now finished and occupied.

Temporary Prefabricated Bungalows
50 are now occupied and 125 more are being built.




By Way of Introduction

Clearing the Decks



Civic and Social Centre

Public Services

Baths and Pleasure Grounds



The Cost






By Way of Introduction

Twenty-one to Nineteen

The small Labour majority on the Windsor Town Council has been made to appear overwhelming, not only by the enthusiasm of the Labour members, but also by the ineffectiveness of the die-hard Conservative opposition, which has been confused and lazy, and by the fact that a few of the Conservatives - the more enlightened ones - have understood the sincerity of the Labour members and the value of their programme and have co-operated in carrying it out. The result has been that the policy which was presented to the electors last year in 'Your Windsor' has been put into operation. And now the Labour Party presents its report, so that those electors may know exactly how much has been done in less than a year.

Clearing the Decks

A year ago, members of the Council went to Committees with only the vaguest idea of the business of the meetings. The Conservatives who were in charge were content to leave most of the work to the paid officials and the organisation of the Committees to providence. The Council met in private and many of the Committees too early in the day for working people to attend.

Not so now. Members of the Council know at least 24 hours in advance just what business they will have to deal with. The Council meets in public at 7 p.m., a time convenient to most citizens; and no Committee meets before 6 p.m. The Committee system, the Standing Orders and the Financial Regulations are all being re-organised in time for the new Council year.

By now nearly all the cobwebs have been swept away-but it took the Labour Party to realise that they were there!


Twenty-five Years Ago

On the 14th May, 1921, the Windsor and Eton Express reported that, "Windsor Town Council spent an evening discussing the housing situation. The Housing Commissioner stated that he was satisfied there was a 'dire necessity' for houses in Windsor, but the Council decided not to build for at least another six months."

and Now

The Chairman of the Housing Committee of the Windsor Town Council, speaking at a public meeting on the 23rd July, 1946, said, "Your Labour Town Council hopes to have more houses, built or being built, in its first year of office than all the previous Independent or Conservative Windsor Town Councils built in all the 21 years between the two world wars."

The Promise and the Action

In 'Your Windsor' the Labour Party pledged itself, if elected in a majority to the Windsor Town Council, to make housing a first priority, to appoint a, qualified architect to design the houses, and to continue to consult housewives in the lay-out of the interiors.

All these things have been done, for the Labour Party WAS elected in a majority. Housing has been its chief concern, a qualified architect has been appointed to the Borough Engineer's Department, and five housewives have been co-opted to the Housing Committee.


To provide emergency accommodation as swiftly as possible the Council has followed a vigorous policy of requisitioning all empty property in the town which could be adapted for housing. All adaptations permitted by the Ministry of Health have been made as quickly as the shortages of labour and materials have allowed; and where the Ministry would not permit the adaptations in requisitioned property the Council has agreed to purchase the property and has carried out the work itself. Altogether, more than 60 properties have been either requisitioned or purchased. More than 140 families have already been accommodated in them and 46 more families will soon be re-housed in further adaptations now rapidly being made.

It should be known that some Conservatives have opposed this policy, but the Labour majority was able to over-rule them and to carry out to the full its emergency housing programme, including the adaptation of several Nissen huts.


Every effort has been made to speed up the supply of temporary prefabricated bungalows. Fifty have been erected and occupied, and work is going forward on a further 125. Perhaps they are not handsome structures, but nobody can deny that they are splendidly equipped; the kitchen, for instance, is a housewife's paradise. And the slope of the Clewer Manor site makes the appearance of the estate less unpleasing than that of most temporary bungalow sites.


But the housing problem cannot be solved by emergency and temporary accommodation. Permanent houses are needed and the Council is trying to build as many as possible of them as quickly as it can. Difficulties have been enormous and seemingly never ending. Workmen have been few in any case, and even of those available some have been attracted to areas where higher wages are paid. The weather has been atrocious and has several times brought building to a stop. Building materials and many components of houses have been and still are in very short supply.

Progress has nevertheless been made. The first 32 brick-built houses have been completed and occupied. They are of an attractive Ministry of Works design. Each kitchen has plenty of cupboards and a refrigerator; the bedrooms are fitted with wardrobes. The W.C. is separate from the bathroom, and a shed for coals, cycles and a pram is provided with each house.

Contracts have been made for 32 slightly larger and equally well-equipped, brick-built houses. They are being built as fast as the shortage of labour and materials allows. Tenders for l 8 more of these have been approved by the Council, and work will start on them as soon as the approval of the Ministry of Health has been obtained.

A design for old people's bungalows has been approved by the Council and by the Ministry. They provide two bedrooms, so that relatives or a nurse may stay with the old people if necessary. They will be built in appropriate places on all the new estates, and not segregated in one colony. Tenders for 24 of them have been invited.

Work on the design of 6, 4, 2, and possibly 1-bedroom houses is being pushed ahead in the drawing office by the qualified architect now employed full-time in the Borough Engineer's Department. As a result there will emerge a plan, not merely to provide the number of houses required, but to provide them with the number of bedrooms needed by the families of the applicants.

The housing enthusiasts on the Council have long known that the supply of bricks and bricklayers would not be able to satisfy the demand for houses when building became possible. They therefore seriously considered the alternative methods to brick construction for permanent houses. Several methods were found satisfactory, and the Chairman of the Housing Committee and the Borough Engineer made a special visit to Whitehall to consult with the Ministry of Health about them. As a result 100 British Iron and Steel Federation Houses, which had been offered to larger and apparently less enthusiastic authorities, were allocated to Windsor. This was an outstanding achievement by the Labour Council, for without this special effort these fine houses would not have come to Windsor at all, A contract was made at once and work is in progress.

But, again, there were not enough men to prepare the site, so the Council agreed to pay more for imported labour, and the camp in the Great Park was acquired as accommodation for the workmen. The bad weather has, of course, impeded progress, but once the roads and sewers are ready the houses will be erected swiftly, for the method of construction is largely dry.

The houses are of steel and have passed the searching tests of the Ministry of Works with flying colours. They are beautifully equipped, well designed, and permanent in every way.

A contract for another 100 permanent houses of pre-cast, reinforced concrete has also been approved by the Council. These are Wates houses, made by the firm which played a prominent part in the construction of the famous 'Mulberry' harbours. They are fully approved by the Ministries and are to be built on the south side of the Dedworth Manor estate. The acquisition of this site was the cause of the only really serious opposition by the Conservatives. To speed up the purchase the Labour majority insisted on permission from the Council to buy the Manor and the land at whatever price the District Valuer had been able to negotiate. Most of the Conservatives, but not all, voted against this, but the Labour majority prevailed. When the price became known it was realised what a fine bargain had been made for the town. Unfortunately, there has been a delay in acquiring alternative ground for the Dedworth Road allotments, which are on part of the land needed for the Wates houses. The Labour majority has asked for similar powers to acquire an alternative site for the allotments. There was no Conservative opposition on that occasion. They have apparently realised that the District Valuer is the local authorities' safeguard. The alternative land has also been planned to take 36 of the larger brick-built houses, and 8 of the old people's bungalows, as well as the allotments.


Families now housed in requisitioned or other adapted property



Houses already erected and occupied








Houses under construction








Houses awaiting approval of Ministry or acquisition of site



Flats under construction or awaiting approval of Ministry






Total number of Council houses built between 1918 and 1939



P 9

Dedworth Manor

Sutherland Grange

Chitty's Plan

Mr Chitty's Dedworth - Clewer Plan

Wates and BISF

A Wates House

A B.I.S.F. House

Private Enterprise

The Council's enterprise in housing has not been at the expense of private enterprise. On the contrary, private enterprise has scarcely been able to keep pace with the licences the Council has made available by the scale of its own building. Altogether, licences for the construction of 38 houses by private builders have been granted in Windsor. At the same time a close watch has been kept on the granting of licences for repairs lest unnecessary decorations to shops and houses should waste materials and labour urgently needed for new houses.

House Purchase

Council houses are to let at rents which working people can afford to pay, and since tile greatest need is for these it is right that most of the present building work should be devoted to them. But many people prefer to buy their houses, even though very few of them can afford to do so outright. The Labour Council has accordingly adopted the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts, and so provided a valuable service for those who wish to borrow money to buy their own houses. Intending purchasers may now borrow from the Council up to 90% of the value of the house they intend to buy, and repay the money over a. period of 30 years if need be. The scale of legal charges is low, and the rate of interest is only 2 3/4%. Yet there is no doubt that Conservatives will go on saying that their Party is the only one 'which studies the interests of all sections of the community' to quote the election address of a Conservative in a recent by-election.


The Housing Acts require that in the selection of tenants for Council houses a reasonable preference be given to persons who are occupying insanitary or overcrowded dwellings. The Ministry of Health has recommended that where a points scheme is operated, care should be taken to see that actual housing need is not outweighed by other less important factors.

In Windsor it was found that the old points scheme was not adequately selecting those applicants whose need was greatest, and so it was scrapped. For a time no alternative points scheme was used, and the House Letting Committee struggled hard and long with the problem of giving individual attention to mole than 1,400 applicants, and some lettings were made to extremely necessitous cases. But as no one could guarantee that they were the most needy cases it was eventually decided to introduce a modified scheme, according to which lettings are now made.

Applicants are divided into Groups according to the degree of overcrowding in their present accommodation. When calculating the number of individuals in a family, pregnant women and those who, because of age and sex, or infectious disease, should have a separate bedroom are counted as two persons each. All rooms of which the applicant has exclusive use are counted as one room each, all rooms shared with others are counted as half a room each, but if cooking has to take place in a room used for sleeping, half a room is deducted from the total number of rooms at the applicant's disposal. The number of persons in the applicant's family is then divided by the number of rooms available. If the result is four or more persons per room, the applicant is placed in Group A, if three in Group B. and so on. Applicants in Group A are rehoused first Fifty points are awarded in each Group for extra overcrowding; size and sanitary conditions of the rooms, length of Windsor residence, service with H.M. Forces, priority of date of first application, medical reasons, and any other factors which are considered important by the Committee when the applicant is interviewed and these points are used to give priority over others in the same Group. Overall priority is given, however, for extremely urgent medical reasons.


Careful attention has been given to the question of rents for the new houses, and a scheme of rebates has been approved to ensure that no one shall be deprived of a house simply because he cannot afford to pay the rather high rent, which will normally have to be charged, without depriving his family of food and clothing. The scheme applies to the old Council houses as well as to the new.


As promised in 'Your Windsor', a Housing Manager has been appointed. Already there is evidence that Council house tenants are being treated more sympathetically, and that more interest is being taken in their welfare. Approval has been given to a scheme for providing fences to the fronts and backs of the existing Council houses, a gardens competition with money prizes has been instituted, and other steps are being taken to beautify our hitherto neglected Council house estates.


"The Labour Party would obtain the services of a skilled town-planner to make provision at Dedworth, where the hulk of the new Council house building must be, for shops, cinemas, clinics, baths, meeting-places, schools, playing-fields, libraries and restaurants."

This policy, quoted from 'Your Windsor', has been carried out. Mr. Anthony M. Chitty, M.A., F.R.I.B.A., A.M.T.P.I., was asked to prepare a development Plan for Dedworth and Clewer. The plan has been completed and has received the unanimous approval of the Council. It forms part of the Housing and Planning Exhibition at the Guildhall. Although a Master Plan, it is flexible, and IS capable of adaptation as development goes on and circumstances alter. But this can he said of it at once, that if Dedworth and Clewer develop on these lines, they will be transformed from an almost forgotten fringe of the town into a proud community provided with all the amenities of civilised and convenient living.

The plan makes a complete break from "the monotony of straight roads and strict geometrical curves" for housing development, and substitutes the principle of the 'Close.' This provides for houses on three sides of an open square with the central space kept up by the Council and the tenants, the saving in road costs being used to provide additional amenities. Proposals are made for the preservation of trees, access to the river, industrial development, allotments, open spaces, shops, public buildings and schools.

The Housing pans for the south side of the Dedworth Manor estate are already following this Development Plan; industry is, being directed to the Dedworth Road site; and steps are being taken to throw open to the public the lovely sweep of the river as it skirts our town to the north.

Civic and Social Centre

Unfortunately, the Corporation Departments are still scattered about the town, and there is no sign of a Social Centre. But this is because the War Office has refused to release the old Imperial Service College buildings, in spite of everything the Labour Council has done to persuade it to do so. Letters have been written, a question has been asked in the House of Commons, and a special visit has been made to London to state Windsor's case.

The War Office persists in its obstinacy, however, and so t he Council has had to make do with the old County Boys' School buildings now called Trinity Centre. But much has gone on there. The huts at the back have been cleared of furniture to make room for the Housing Manager's Office. To make more room for the new Town Clerk the Health Visitors' Office has been moved from Park Street to Trinity Centre and united with the Sanitary Inspector's Office to form the nucleus of the town's Health Department. Accommodation has been found for the Citizens' Advice Bureau, and many voluntary organisations make valuable use of other rooms there.

Public Services


A thorough review of the way in which the various parts of the town are served by bus has been undertaken by the Council, hut the proposal to institute a municipal bus service has not been adopted in view of the Government's plan to nationalise all transport. The Council's proposals to improve the bus services to Dedworth have been discussed with the bus companies. As a result some improvements have already been made, and more are on the, way.


The Metropolitan Water Board's scheme for the co-ordination of the water supplies of the huge area round London has been carefully examined, since it is possible that the cost of a new waterworks for Windsor may be avoided by some such scheme as this.


Since it is the County Council's business to provide a library service in Windsor, the delay in improving the present service cannot be blamed upon the Town Council. The Town Council's scheme for an improved lending library has been approved by the County Council, but work does not start in spite of the fact that the town has placed the, best buildings at Trinity Centre at the disposal of the County for this purpose. The Town Council has further asked for a reference library and reading-room to be added to the lending library.

Baths and Pleasure Grounds

Children's Playgrounds

Although shortages of labour and materials and the priority of housing have made necessary the postponement for a year or two of the project for an indoor swimming-bath, it has been possible to do something for the children The Manor Road Recreation Ground has been made fit for use, the field at Trinity Centre has been tidied up and thrown open, and equipment has been ordered for a children's playground near the tennis courts in Goswell's Meadow.

Slipper Baths and Public Lavatories

It has also been found possible to increase the number of lavatories at the Car Park and to provide a number of slipper baths there. The need for both of these is acute and was stressed in 'Your Windsor' . Plans have been approved and work will commence shortly.

Home Park, Bowling Green and Riverfront

The Home Park has been jealously guarded and well cared for, and a plan for the development of the Datchet end is under examination. The bowling greens have never been in better condition, and a scheme is being discussed between the Council and the Bowling Club for full public use of one of the greens. The Labour Council is proud of the achievements of Windsor bowlers and will do all it can to encourage the Club, but it insists on some public provision for bowling in Windsor. The Labour Party's attitude on this has been wilfully misrepresented, vet now that the facts are known there is no reason to suppose that the Bowling Club will resist the Council's proposals.
Plans for extending and developing the riverfront are under active consideration. There will be a putting green, a paddling pool and all other possible amenities in keeping with the dignity and beauty of Windsor's side of the river.


Welfare Centres

Although Windsor has not tried to obstruct the magnificent health proposals of the Government, in spite of the Act that they involve the transfer of many services to the County, the Council has asked for representation on any committee administering the town's services when they are passed over.

Steps have been taken to improve the infant welfare centres. A hot-water system has been installed at the Clewer Centre, and an extra session has been provided at Victoria Street each week. Pram shelters are being installed at both centres, and, as promised a third Health Visitor has been appointed.


War-time nurseries have now had to be closed down; but 'The Lawns' has been retained by the town, so that some provision can be continued for children under two years old. The Thames Street Nursery has been taken over by the County as a nursery school, and will provide for children from two to five years old The staff at 'The Lawns' has been increased, and this nursery will take children from one to five.

Home Helps

Further home helps have been employed, and the Council has done all it can to extend this valuable service.


Windsor's schools have now been taken over by the County under the 1944 Education Act. The Divisional Executive has been set up and the Council has appointed representatives to it. Labour representatives on the Executive may be trusted to do all they can to carry out the policy stated in 'Your Windsor'.

The Cost

Unscrupulous Conservative propagandists may make great play of the fact that the rates were put up by the Labour Council by 3s. in the pound. They should be reminded that every Conservative on the Council voted in favour of this. 1s. 6d. of the increase was required by the Conservative County Council, and the other 1s. 6d. by the Labour Town Council. The blunt fact, unpalatable as it may be, is that the increase was necessary even to maintain the town's services. Not to levy the extra 1s. 6d. for the town would have meant that one or other of the municipal services would have had to be cut down or abolished. But which ? Housing ? Health ? Maternity and Child Welfare ? Even the Conservatives were not prepared to do it.

Some people may grumble about the rates, others about what they think is the slow speed at which houses are being built; but the same people cannot grumble about both. You can keep the rates down by not building houses, for each Council house built will cost the rates at least £5 10s. each year for many years. Every precaution will be taken against extravagance, but if the Labour Party has its way the houses will go up even if the rates go up too. Roughly the same principle applies to other things. The Labour Party states what it will do. All it does will be paid for. If the people really want the better town which the Labour Party is trying to create, they will want to pay for it. No other course is honest. Everyone knows that a. great deal needs doing in our town. Wages are higher and materials cost more, so beware of the canvasser for votes who promises to keep the rates down. He should be asked just how he intends to do it.


The Labour Council has worked hard. It has not spared its members or its officials, many of whom have worked unselfishly long after normal office hours, and a great deal has been accomplished. May this work go on ? To make quite sure that it shall go on, you should vote for the Labour candidates at the November elections and return your Labour Council with an increased majority. The Labour Party has every confidence that you will do this; but if you do not, the Party will still be grateful for having had the opportunity to show what it can do, and it will still be proud of what it has done.

Two interior views of a B.I.S.F. House

Back cover
This view has been rotated from the original for clarity.
The copyright was originally acknowledged as ©Aerofilms
who we have been unable to locate.


The following pictures have been taken by the RWWS to illustrate the above article.


The British Iron and Steel Federation houses built in 1946-47
but delayed by the harsh winter of which resulted in the floods of March 1947.

In recent years the Housing Association has reclad their houses, but privately owned ones were not improved in this way.

'Pre-fabs' under construction but delayed by the snows of early 1947

'Permanent housing' as described in the Labour Party booklet above,
these were in Sheepcote Road

There is more about Dedworth in general and these post-war homes
in our
Dedworth forum thread here


See also

I. Labour Party 'Your Windsor' of 1945


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