Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

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Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

Postby Munkie » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:21 pm

Hi there,

It's my first post, and I hope I'm posting in the right place. I've come across Hidden Glasgow Forums quite a bit during the research for my PhD, which looks at Glasgow in the 1920s and 1930s, and I've often found posts helpful. I have a specific question this time, so I thought I'd raise my head above the parapet and shout a question out, and see what comes back [DUCK!]

So I've been looking up a few addresses in Kelly's Directory from a members roll of one of Glasgow's many ex-serivcemen's associations.I've found a few references to 'Halfway houses'

Some of them are the 'working men's hotels' (ones founded by Thomas Paxton, e.g. Rutland House) but sometimes the phrase 'halfway houses' is just bracketed next to the whole address, ie. 'Paisley Road, West (Halfway Houses)' without being related to a specific address or hotel. For instance:

Ashkirk Drive (halfway houses), Mosspark
Barlogan Avenue (halfway houses), Craigton
Jura Street (halfway houses), Pollokshields
Moidart Place (halfway houses), Pollokshields

Some are single occupancy, and some look like tenement dwellings. They're all part of the new wave of house building after the war, but I don' t understand why they've been designated as 'halfway houses' and what that means. I wondered whether these were roads/houses specifically designated to ex-servicemen, as I know that service in the war was supposed to have been one of the criteria for settlement?

Just struck me as odd....Anyone an expert? Ive technically finished the research for my thesis, so can't go back into the archives, but thought someone out there might know....
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Re: Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

Postby neilmc » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:40 pm

I think a halfway house in this context is the next stage up from a hostel, intended for individuals as a stepping-stone prior to them 'rejoining society'.

Coincidentally, Mosspark and Craigton both adjoin the area known as Halfwayhouses, which is roughly where Mosspark Boulevard meets Paisley Road West.
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Re: Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

Postby Delmont St Xavier » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:06 pm

I think that the halfwayhouse was just that - a staging place between being of 'no fixed abode' to reintegration back into society. I've only ever heard of halfwayhouses in a negative context but I wait with baited breath for this subject to unfold as it has added something different to our boards, me thinks.

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Re: Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

Postby Munkie » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:27 am

Thanks for the responses - and for the welcome! I've been a lurker for a while....

I'm glad a couple of other people are interested.

It's a bit odd, isn't it? But this might because I'm misunderstanding the nature of halfway houses...I certainly thought that these might refer to some kind of reintegration project, but the only time I've come across the term, today, has been with regard to prisoners and/or people who've been in rehab. But these tend to be one or two houses in a particular area - we've got an addiction rehabilitation centre near us, which is often referred to by local people as a 'halfway house'. But whole streets, as in the case of Jura Street?

I wondered about the area, too, but some streets have the brackets whereas adjacent streets don't - which doesn't make sense. Also Kelly's Directory, for other areas, just lists these after the street, with a comma - no brackets. The formatting certainly doesn't make sense, but perhaps I'm crediting Kelly's with a degree of consistency it doesn't have.

Another thing that's niggling - more! - is that the occupants of a 'halfway house' don't fit with the rest of Glasgow's citizenry, as detailed by Kelly's. I don't know exactly how Kelly's gathered it's data in Glasgow in the 1920s and 1930s.There is too little written about directories in general, but almost nothing about the 20th century. Archivists have said it was just on a subscription basis, which certainly makes sense for the shopkeepers and others advertising, but it's patterns in recording residents make little sense if so. For instance, residents in some tenement blocks seem to be recorded in full, whereas for many numbers there are none listed. In fact, some streets have no residents entered at all. I know there is a tangible socio economic dimension to Glasgow's geography at this time, but one might expect, if it was subscription based, for results to be more sporadic - it would be, after all, a matter of individual choice. I wonder whether they're using the valuation rolls somehow...

Anyway, digressing, my main point is that these residents of halfway houses are all listed. They join the commercial, retail, professional and otherwise 'public' citizens that form the backbone of these enormous directories. Which doesn't make sense if they're all on their way out of some institution or other....unless I suppose the house valuation was actually enough to get them in, if the valuation rolls were being used....

Or....perhaps these streets were much more connected to the 'homes for heroes' project than we tend to think. And the I've read (somewhere!) that this particular area was reserved for what was considered to be the 'better sort' - ie. skilled working classes (but they also mentioned 'professional' - why would these need council housing?) - but service in the war was a sort of filtering system in the selection of these candidates. Maybe it was the driving reason for selection, which might explain why there are so many of them and why they've got such nice housing. Why would you bother making 'halfway houses' so nice for people in the 1920s otherwise?

It wasn't a question I was particularly concerned with when I was researching (in fact, it's not vital to my thesis - I'm just interested now) so I didn't see if Glasgow archives had something that might illuminate the matter, i.e. in the Corporation minutes at least. But if I get to go in again I might try digging around.

Man, history is difficult. Thought for the day.
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Re: Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

Postby Josef » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:30 am

Here, this sounds like a quite interesting kind of project. Disclaimer : I've done no reading on this subject whatsoever, so any statement here is completely of the cuff.

neilmc wrote:I think a halfway house in this context is the next stage up from a hostel, intended for individuals as a stepping-stone prior to them 'rejoining society'.

Coincidentally, Mosspark and Craigton both adjoin the area known as Halfwayhouses, which is roughly where Mosspark Boulevard meets Paisley Road West.


Yes to the first, but I'm unconvinced of the 'Coincidentally' in the second. There are several places called Halfway in the vicinity of Glasgow, one being there, another being out near Newton. I'd be (without any evidence) inclined to go for the 'halfway between two long-established and therefore known places' theory.

To the 'post WWI' thing. Two things spring to mind. One is the unprecedented nature of that war. A large number of Gas and psychological victims were generated. Wars often generate embarrassing victims. They're 'Our Heroic Lads' until post-war society has to support them for life.

If I recall correctly, the vagrancy/begging laws in the UK date from blokes with arms and legs missing after the Crimean War taking to the streets to stay alive. Similarly, the outlawing of opiates (originally morphine) comes from the 'give them a couple of ampoules and send them back to the front' of 1914-19. It met needs at the time, but generated an embarrassing dependency that the state was unwilling to fund.

Perhaps something to do with that?
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Re: Halfway Houses in the 1920s and 1930s?

Postby Munkie » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:37 am

Ah, more to throw into the mix!

Well, I'm probably inclining more to the Kelly's Directory being unclear about what it's referring to argument. I agree - It's probably making a differentiation based on a notional area (Halfway Houses...) and the ward that this street is now in. But it's odd, because it doesn't do that elsewhere. Or necessarily for the streets around these. But, as I say, there's a lot about the compilation that I can't say much about.

Anyhoo. The Great War idea is an interesting one. Bellahouston Hospital was, after all, just across the road. This was originally a Red Cross hospital but it was taken over by the Ministry of Pensions and closed at the end of the 1920s (from memory), causing huge upset in the ex-service community in Glasgow at the time. The hospital did a lot of out patient work, which would be handled afterwards by the Princess Louise (in Erskine), which was obviously not as convenient for many patients to get to, and more expensive. But...then again...I wonder...I've never heard of halfway houses being part of their treatment programme. Neither have I seen anything in the corporation about using this strategy to 'help' ex-service communities (there is a lot of other stuff they're sponsoring including workshops etc). But you never know. I hope I'm proved wrong.
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