This is a picture from a world which had been lost by 1925

In 1925 they decorated the walls of the new houses with cheap, bright wallpapers, trimming the edges of the rolls with huge shears so that we were able to collect handfulls of curly streamers and wrap them round our heads as elaborate wigs. This dressing up marked the end of building. A little carnival to celebrate the completion of the next block of houses.

These pre-war building sites would be unrecognisable today, alive with men instead of machines. Yet while there were many men, they could be hired and fired at an hour's notice. Building has always been the most chancy of trades. About 1978, the architect R.A.Bullivant, who is quoted later in the chapter on The Odeon, Muswell Hill, gave a lecture about the building of cinemas in the 1930s. He said:-

"It would not have been possible to build a 1500 seat cinema in eight or nine months if the Economy had been overheated as it was for example in the 1960s. All contractors employed a nucleus of craftsmen who had started with them as apprent­ices. In addition, casual labour was hired and fired as there was a large pool of unemployed craftsmen and labourers. At an inspection of one half-completed cinema I condemned a large area of brickwork on the advice of the Clerk of Works. Before I left the site that evening all the condemned work had been demolished and twenty additional bricklayers had suddenly materialized and were rebuilding the walls."

 

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House Decorating Whitewashing, painting, paperhanging etc. Ed. Pa ul N.Hasluck, Cassell, undated but Victoria n/Edwardian.

 

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