Estates by Lynsey Hanley.
Lynsey Hanley’s book ‘Estates’ has been really insightful with our Degeneration project in mind.
Hanley grew up on the Chelmsley Wood estate on the edge of Birmingham, which was completed in 1971, her book about class and council housing is part-memoir, part-history and examines from both inside and outside the causes of the ‘spirit-sapping’ effect of so much postwar social housing on its residents.
Sarah wise from the Guardian writes “The heart of Hanley’s book lies in her vivid descriptions of how the physical walls of council estates (whether of the tower variety or the ‘endless tragic boxes’ of a cottage-style development) can create and sustain what she calls ‘walls in the head’ – the ‘invisible barriers to knowledge, self-awareness and social mobility’, the internalisation of society’s desire to exclude you. She unflinchingly details the effects of an isolated, insular, monotonous, monocultural environment upon a bookish and sensitive girl and charts her gradual discovery of the class system and just where she might and might not fit within it. It’s partly harrowing and partly cheering and it’s a tale that’s well worth keeping somewhere in mind when next you’re laughing at Vicky Pollard.