The History of the Village Housing from 1945 onwards...


The history of housing in Bere Regis indicates that until around the time of the 2nd World War it was provided in the main by the estates and employers so that housing and employment were closely associated. Older parishioners have spoken of their fortune in being 'given' a cottage to live in soon after their marriage. As older employees moved from jobs so a cottage would become available for the employee.

Parishioner & her cottage

Clearly this situation had severe limitations and though some employers provided some new cottages there was still a severe shortage of housing. The Parish Council is recorded as requesting the District Council to build houses for the parishioners, hence we now see Green Close, Egdon Close, Southbrook & Shitterton Close. These houses must have been a great relief to the many then young people trying to set up their homes and families at that time.

Southbrook Close in the 1950's

In the 1940's and 1950's the estates could be seen to be reducing the numbers of cottages that they held as the work on the land and forests became less labour intensive. Cottages were sold to the tenants for prices which today would seem a pittance. Subsequently, as the older parishioners died or moved away, these same cottages were sold on and attracted prices way beyond the reach of the parishioners who previously would have occupied them in due course.

2 of the Cottages sold off in Shitterton in the 1940's

A few new individual houses were built throughout the Parish in the post war years. The small development at Boswell's Close were erected by Messrs Griffin & Son in the 1960's. The major public housing on the south side of West Street and to the west of the Church came in the late 1970's. This was in response to a shortage of housing in the District generally. Naturally homeless parishioners were included but as a result of this development there was a considerable increase in people moving into the parish from other parts of the District. Though it provided housing it was not always a satisfactory solution as people moving from Upton and away from their area of work, it involved a long journey each day. For local people it meant that young people who had by now married, could set up homes independent of their parents. The development was designed to serve the requirements of all ages on the Housing register, thus we see flats, houses, bungalows for elderly people and a sheltered housing scheme. There was criticism at the time for building so close to the Church.

1970's Development

The 1980's saw the reduction in the provision of new public housing and there was an encouragement to build houses for purchase by individuals. The estate at the western end of Elder Road with its two satellite roads resulted. Regrettably many of these houses were beyond the affordable range of young parishioners and so there was again a large influx of new people both retired and from the new 'industries' within the conurbation. A few individual houses have since been built on infilling sites such as the Old Chapel and Bus Depot, Snowhill & Shitterton.

2000's Infill on West Street


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