The Archive

The Tower Block UK image archive- the principle legacy of our HLF-funded project- is a fully searchable database of around 4,000 images of every multi-storey social housing development built in the UK in the postwar decades. The photographs were largely taken in the 1980s by Miles Glendinning and are made available here for the first time for public use. As many of the blocks documented and photographed have since been demolished, the archive functions in part as a repository of information on an important aspect of UK heritage that is now vanishing.

The archive itself catalogues multi-storey blocks as part of the developments within which they were initially commissioned and built. It gives details of notable dates, such as when local authorities approved the developments and when construction began or finished. Alongside this, the archive provides information on the local authorities, architects, and other agents involved in the processes of commissioning, designing, and constructing mass social housing.

While the most historically 'accurate' identification labels in the database are the original overall development or project names, the archive also contains details of the individual blocks built.

Beginning as the digitisation of one specific collection of details and photographs,over the course of a three-year long Heritage-Lottery Funded project this archive expanded as residents and former residents of housing developments were invited to contribute their thoughts, comments, and photographs, which have now been added to the archive.

The images on the site are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence, meaning they may be distributed and re-used as long as credit is given to the original creator, Prof. Miles Glendinning.


Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh 2016.