New terraced houses built by Glasgow Corporation Housing Department at Muirskeith Road, Merrylee, photographed in February 1952.
The houses at Merrylee became the centre of a political storm. From 1949 to 1952 the Progressive Party, most of whose members were Conservatives, held power by a narrow majority in the City Chambers. In November 1951 the ruling party put forward a proposal that the 622 houses at Merrylee should be sold, not rented. At a time when 100,000 people were on the housing waiting list, this caused uproar among trade unionists and Labour Party supporters.
On 6 December, the day the proposal was to be discussed by the full Council, building workers on sites all over the city downed tools and marched on George Square. Workers from many other industries joined them, causing traffic chaos. A deputation was allowed into the Chambers. Amid rowdy scenes, the proposal was passed.
A campaign to stop the sales followed, with suggestions that work on the Merrylee site should be blacked. Management retaliated by sacking activists. The issue became a major topic at the municipal elections in May 1952. The Labour Party gained control of the Council, and the sale of the houses was blocked.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries, Information and Learning
City Chambers, construction workers, council houses, Glasgow Corporation, Housing Department, housing estates, housing schemes, Labour Party, municipal elections, Progressive Party, strikes, terraced houses, trade unions, trades unions