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Derby Daily Telegraph - 26 June 1925

Two houses nearing completion at Shirley Lane-end on the Derby-Ashbourne road lead to the query as to what knowledge is possessed by the Derby Corporation that is not available the deliberations of the Ashbourne Rural District Council, writes a correspondent, for permission to erect these houses in the borough has been refused. Concrete houses are much of a novelty that this semi-detached pair has attracted good deal of attention, and inquiries have elicited some very interesting facts. A boards shows that the houses are being erected by the Derby Concrete and Timber Company, but it is found that the person behind the venture is Mr. F. A. Pickles, a civil engineer, who is back in this country after 15 years overseas service in constructional work for the Government, and ha 3 had not a little experience in concrete in Nigeria. These are two concrete houses wood frames, and permission was sought to build the first pair of the type in Derby. The plans were returned with the intimation that permission would be refused as the steel frame was not strong enough, and the same answer was given when fresli plans were submitted with stronger framework. Then, living in Shirley, the engineer submitted the original plans to the Ashbourne Rural Council, and they were once passed. Steel work was ordered from a Burton firm, which supplied the articles but expressed the opinion that they were really over-strong for the purpose for which they were to be used. Tlt3 only rkilled men whose services are required in the erection of the houses are carpenters; the pair Shirlev-lane end have sold at £420, and the company will guarantee to build similar houses in three week for sale £400 each Derby. The steel work consists of eight steel standards, with two steel joists to carry the floors ; the walls are of concrete, with inner lining of plaster slabs, on the lines of houses which have proved success in Nigeria, where is be found a temperature of 110, with concrete houses cooler than the ordinary tvpe. Tf they will keep heat out there is debt they will also keep heat in. There is kitchen 16ft. by lift., a living room 13ft. bv 10ft, 6in., pantry, bathroom', and entrance hall on the ground floor. Upstnirs are bedrooms 13ft. 9in. by 12ft. and lift. 9in. 10ft Bin., and two smaller rocms suitable for single beds. Outbuildings contain convenience, coal house, and The downstairs rooms are high, and upstair# rooms Bft. 6in. in height. Outside tlie walls are attractively pebbledashed, and the woodwork has been sup. plied Derby contractors. Derby's View. Iu reply to a question about the houses the last meeting of the Derby Town Council, Aid. W. Eaton, chairman of the Provision of Houses Committee, stated that in the opinion of the Borough Survej-or and his staff the proposed building was net of a sufficiently stable construction to stand up if erected, and the plan when submitted to the Improvement Committee was disapproved on those grounds. The Borough Surveyor could not imagine similar plans being approved any local authority, and was"quite certain that the Ministry of %»alth would not allow them, unless, of course an alteration had been made in the form construction by strengthening the structure as the applicant had been advised. The surveyor was quite sure that if that type of house were made of stable construction it would cost at len*i much as the brick houses erected by Messrs. Gee and Sons, but could probably be put up more quickly.

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