One of the striking aspects of Pearl Jephcott’s archive in the University of Glasgow Library is the breadth and depth of her research activity. For her seminal study on high-rise living, ‘Homes in High Flats’, Pearl carried out extensive research on the development of tower blocks in the UK and overseas. Her archive contains numerous folders filled with articles, photographs and maps of high rise living ‘from places such as far apart as Melbourne, Philadelphia, Caracas, Prague and Moscow’ (Jephcott, 1971:2). Maps are a regular feature of her work and it is no surprise that as part of her study of high-rise flats in Glasgow Pearl began by carrying out a mapping exercise illustrating the locations of the new housing developments. The map featured in this blog is taken from her archive and shows how she used the city map to indicate new housing developments that were complete at the time of her research, each separate tower block depicted by small red squares. Planned or incomplete blocks were illustrated by a red unfilled square.
Although the first tower block in Glasgow was occupied as early as June 1952 it was not until the 1960s that the rapid expansion of this type of building occurred. The main sample for the planned research consisted of those developments that were occupied by July 1968 (143 blocks in total), increasing to 163 by May 1969. The final sample consisted of five estates, narrowed down ‘to enable staff to make sustained relationships with individual households, increasing their chances of finding out which aspects of multi-story life had most bearing on the tenants satisfaction or otherwise’ (p28). The five estates selected were located across the city and two research staff went to live in a high-rise flat, for just over 6 weeks, in four of the five locations. The five estates selected were Wynford (16 blocks), Royston (3), Albion (3) Castlemilk (5) and Red Road (3) (see Jephcott, 1971: 29).
Map: University of Glasgow Archive, Glasgow Map DC127/17/6
Jepchott, P. (1971) Homes in High Flats: Some of the Human Problems Involved in Multi-Storey Housing. Oliver and Boys: Edinburgh