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Everyday Architecture

Logie Housing Estate

The Logie Estate was the first housing estate in Scotland. The design of architect James Thomson, the Logie Estate was a response to Prime Minister Lloyd George’s promise of “homes fit for heroes” after World War I. Officially opened on 27th May 1920 when there were 84 homes finished and ready to move into. Society was still getting back on its feet after the war, so it was another year before all 250 homes were finished and occupied, due to strikes, material shortages and electricity problems.

Unusually for communities at the time, most of the residents were young couples married during the war, many with young children, looking to set up their first homes. At the opening of the estate, the Lord Provost William Don referred to the homes as ‘little castles’. There was a lot of excitement about the scheme and there were well over 500 applications for the 250 homes, even though the rent rates put these houses out of reach for the average factory or mill worker in Dundee. 

As with many designs that are the first of their kind, the houses weren’t perfect. One of the main issues was that the kitchen was joined to the living room, and another was that the size of the corridors and doors were too narrow. Adverts in The Courier actually stated that certain items of furniture were unsuitable for Logie houses, as large items couldn’t fit through the small spaces. In these adverts, the kitchens were described as “practically another room” which is quite an exaggeration! However, learning these lessons from the first scheme meant that future designs could avoid making these mistakes again. 

The design of the houses sparked changes in Scotland’s architecture. As well as each house having central heating supplied from a district heating system, the most unusual thing about these houses was the two-up, two-down design. This was a big change from the tenements that Scotland is known for. Improvements have been mindful of the design with care taken over the detailing of the garden fences, gates, address plates, railings, steps and paths that have given the scheme a sense of unity which has lasted as an architectural example for over 100 years. 

Research by Stephanie Crowe
Words by Poppy Jarratt
Illustration by Dana Ulama