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The mechanics of urban land development in Huddersfield 1770-1911\ud

By Rosemary Jane Springett


The land development process involves decision-making by landowners, developers and builders in the context of a changing socioeconomic environment. Essential to that process is the transfer of property rights either wholly (freehold) or partly (leasehold) from landowners to builders. This process is examined in Huddersfield\ud between 1770 and 1911.\ud \ud Development from 1770 to 1850 was dominated by, the Ramsden\ud Estate. Building was undertaken in an ad, hoc and informal manner by small capitalists from all ranks of society. Some limited building took place on freehold land but most houses were built on leasehold tenure or tenancy at will, the latter being available on the Ramsden Estate.\ud \ud After 1850 an increasing number of landowners participated in land development as suburbanisation took place, firstly amongst the upper middle classes and after 1880 amongst the lower middle classes. Consequently the Ramsden Estate's near monopoly of development land declined" and that Estate found it increasingly difficult to let land on the terms and conditions it wished. Builders, however, had a\ud widening choice of locations in which to build and exhibited a preference for land available on long-term leasehold. By 1867 this had become the tenure on which land was available throughout Huddersfield.\ud \ud During the final years of the nineteenth century a number of\ud changes were manifest in the mechanics of land development.\ud Construction costs rose, primarily as a result of the introduction of byelaws governing house-building. Thus, not only did builders increasingly concentrate on building for the lower middle classes at the expense. of the working classes, but they also increased the size of building projects. Moreover, house building was now chiefly\ud initiated by members of the lower middle classes or building\ud contractors on a speculative basis rather than the contractual basis that had been the practice. Meanwhile, landowners found themselves in increasing competition with each other in the supply of land. By the beginning of the twentieth century some of the smaller landowners were offering land for development on freehold as well as leasehold tenure, whichever a builder preferred

Publisher: School of Geography (Leeds)
Year: 1979
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