View from Yate Heritage Centre

July 03 2016

YATE has a large diversity of housing, from small miners’ cottages in North Road to large farmhouses, 1930s council houses and the modern estate-style homes of today.

 Yate Heritage Centre

YATE has a large diversity of housing, from small miners’ cottages in North Road to large farmhouses, 1930s council houses and the modern estate-style homes of today. Many who moved from old traditional cottages to a new pre-fab felt they were going up in the world as the homes had mod cons and were built in a more modern style. Today, traditional cottages previously considered outdated are now sought after for their original features and character. Styles and domestic fashions have changed over the years, with fireplaces boarded up in the 1960s now back in use and range-style ovens reappearing. Gardens
Before mass building of the new town, many Yate residents used their gardens to grow vegetables. Some also had room for pigs, chickens, ducks and other animals. Many households were nearly self-sufficient and swapped produce with neighbours or gave it away. Food grown in the summer was also preserved and saved for the winter in pantries, larders and even bedroom cupboards.
Modern homes now have smaller gardens and are built closer together to get more houses onto the land available. Driveways and garages are smaller or omitted, with many gardens now given over to cars, decking and trampolines.
Housing memories Some older residents remember houses with no bathroom, inside toilet, fridge or electricity, with just cold water inside if they were lucky. Wells provided water for some, such as Pearl Parry, although she wasn’t allowed to draw water from a well in North Road until she was nine in case she fell in.
Stella Lane said her childhood home had just one room downstairs before the landlord added on a front room. She shared a bedroom with her brother when young before sharing with her mother while her brother moved into the second bedroom with their father.
Terry Blacker lived in a two-bed home with his two sisters, parents and grandfather, He said there wasn’t much privacy and no talk of anyone having their own space.
Without machines and a ready supply of power and water, it would take all day to do the laundry, while open fires supplied warmth in some rooms, as well as leaving dust and ashes to be cleaned up.
But records illustrate changes that started to be made. Builders FT Ranger, of Station Road, constructed two houses for a Mr Higgs in Goose Green in February 1936, each with indoor bathrooms and four chimney pots.
Renting had been the norm and Stella Lane remembers being offered the chance to buy a home in the 1940s. She said: “I was worried sick. I thought people like us don’t own their own houses.”
New town.  The new development attracted people from outside the area, often those with cars so they could move further from Bristol, as well as many newlyweds. Homes that sold for about £2,500 when built now fetch more than £200,000.
Eileen Barnard arrived in Yate in 1962 when there were no boundary fences around the houses so cows would get into the gardens. She said there was also a wait to get proper roads and pavements.
Harry Brownbill bought a house in Stanshawe Crescent for £1,950 when there was a timber yard next door. He said people often moved to the new town to get their first home and after a few years moved away or into a bigger property, as he did, moving to a bigger house off Station Road.