A Quarter Taking Matters Into Its Own Hands

From 1969 to 1971 the pho­tog­ra­ph­er Nick Hedges doc­u­ment­ed life in Liv­er­pool. Nick was com­mis­sioned by the char­i­ty Shel­ter to trav­el through Eng­land and Scot­land and por­tray the lives of fam­i­lies liv­ing in slums and mis­ery. Here you can see young res­i­dents of Liv­er­pool walk­ing past an elec­tion poster in Gran­by Street. © Nick Hedges

In the 1980s, Tox­teth is the set­ting for vio­lent class strug­gles. Peo­ple move to oth­er parts of Liv­er­pool; many of the Vic­to­ri­an row hous­es fall into dis­re­pair. As a result, a group becomes active in the neigh­bor­hood. They clean up, plant flower beds, paint win­dows, and estab­lish a mar­ket. A Com­mu­ni­ty Land Trust is set up. The aim: to cre­ate afford­able hous­ing that is owned by the peo­ple from the neigh­bor­hood. The group con­vinces the munic­i­pal­i­ty not to demol­ish the hous­es. Lat­er, the archi­tec­ture col­lec­tive Assem­ble comes on board and devel­ops a plan for the area. Although the work is still unfin­ished and many hous­es are still in need of fur­ther atten­tion, the people’s goal of tak­ing the future of their area into their own hands has been achieved for the time being.


Gran­by Four Streets Redevelopment


Gran­by Four Streets CLT; Steve Biko Hous­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, sup­port­ing body; Ann O’Byrne, sup­port­er, for­mer Liv­er­pool City Coun­cil Deputy May­or and Cab­i­net Mem­ber for Hous­ing; Assem­ble, archi­tec­ture office


Since 2011


Liv­er­pool, Great Britain 

Assem­ble worked with the Gran­by Four Streets Com­mu­ni­ty Land Trust (CLT) to ren­o­vate 10 ruinous town hous­es on Cairns St. in Tox­teth. © Lewis Jones
© Lewis Jones
With the demo­li­tion of all but four of Granby’s streets, a once thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ty was dis­persed and the remain­ing Gran­by Four Streets were sparse­ly pop­u­lat­ed. Aer­i­al view of the demo­li­tion area of Gran­by Four Streets. Archive image © Assemble
The first Gran­by Work­shop prod­uct line was designed for homes in need of ren­o­va­tion and includ­ed bath­room tiles, door han­dles and fire­places. On dis­play here is a col­lec­tion of hand­made ceram­ic bot­tles, cups and glass­es for every­day use, based on local mate­ri­als. The com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to have a strong com­mu­ni­ty focus—operating from its premis­es on Gran­by Street, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the month­ly com­mu­ni­ty mar­ket and con­tin­u­ing to con­tribute to the ongo­ing local ren­o­va­tions. © Lewis Jones