Opening of Amelia Blackwell House

5th May 1969

Opening Of Amelia Blackwell House – Programme

1.     3.00 p.m. Proceedings to be opened by the Chairman of the Canvey Island Urban District Council (Councillor H.A. Tibbles.)
2.     Supporting remarks by Chairman of the Public Health & Housing Committee of the Canvey Island Urban District Council (Councillor C.A.Morgan) who will extend an invitation to the Minister to perform the opening ceremony.
3.     Opening Ceremony by the Minister of Housing & Local Government (Rt. Hon. Anthony Greerwood, M.P.) who will unveil a plaque to mark the occasion.
4.     Dedication of the House by the Vicar of Canvey Island (Rev. J.A. Fleetwood, B.D., A.K.C.,) assisted by other ministers of religion.
5.    Vote of thanks to be proposed by the Chairman of the Housing Management Sub-Committee (Councillor G.G. Wall) who will, in turn, grant to Councillor Mrs. A.R. Blackwell freedom of the house by presenting her with a key to the accommodation in the form of a brooch.
6.     Presentation by Councillor Mrs. A.R.Blackwell of a wall clock for use in the main lounge.
7.     Presentation of a bouquet to Councillor Mrs. A.R. Blackwell by Aline Streatfield (daughter of the Council’s Housing Manager).

At the conclusion of the ceremony the guests will be invited to partake of light refreshments to be served by the Canvey Island branch of the Womens Royal Voluntary Service (refreshments kindly supplied at the expense of Selleck, Nicholls Williams (E.C.C.) Ltd., the main Contractors. )

Guests are invited to inspect the House and Grounds, but are respectfully requested not to enter the flats without a specific invitation from a tenant.

History of Amelia Blackwell House

Site and Scheme

In February 1967 the Council agreed to develop this site for aged persons accommodation with Warden and Communal Services. The site formed part of a much larger area of land (approximately 100 acres in extent) purchased by the Council some years earlier for general housing needs. Five firms specialising in the design and construction of this type of accommodation were invited to submit preliminary sketch proposals and guide prices for a meeting to be held in April 1967.

At that meeting it was agreed that three of those firms be invited to submit revised schemes together with guide price tenders and that, in the meantime arrangements be made to inspect similar development erected by two of the firms who had not previously carried out work for the Council.

In June 1967 two of these firms were invited to submit a detailed scheme and firm tender price for return in September 1967. At this stage a general brief, setting out in some detail all the particular requirements of the Council, was given to both firms in order that there should be no misunderstanding on points of detail when tenders were received. During the period between June and receipt of tenders, numerous meetings were held with the Architects of both firms to ensure that the specifications and plans were acceptable.

The tenders received were as follows and the Council resolved to accept the scheme and tender of Selleck Nicholls Williams (E.C.C.) Ltd.

Selleck Nicholls Williams (E.C.C.) Ltd             £63,003
Accommodation for 28 persons, Warden’s Flat, Communal facilities, gardens, car park and garaging etc.

Gregory Housing Ltd.                                           £87,506 —- (revised to £85,941).
Accommodation for 31 persons, Warden’s Flat, Communal facilities, gardens, car park and garaging etc.

The Housing Cost Yardstick for the whole approved project was £64,963 for subsidy purposes, car accommodation £1,365 and 10% tolerance (£6,496) qualifying for loan sanction but not subsidy.

The approved scheme designed to modified Parker Harris Standards, as now completed, profiles accommodation on two floors for 28 aged persons in Flatlets comprising Living Room, Bed recess with glazed partition and sliding door, Kitchen, Toilet and Handbasin and hall with meter and broom cupboard. Eight Communal bathrooms are shared by the Tenants and there is a choice between standard bath, sitting bath and shower, all bathrooms have grab rails and “call bells” fitted.   A two bedroom self contained flat is provided for the Warden, and communal facilities include two Lounges, Kitchen, Guest Bedroom, Laundry, Ironing Room and Goods Delivery Lockers, Public Telephone and internal and external drying facilities.

Heating throughout is by electric night storage heaters operating on “off peak” rates together with the hot water services, but each flatlet is separately metered for lighting, cooking and running the 2 k.w. wall fire for occasional use. The rent of each flatlet (inclusive of heating and hot water) is £4.11.6d.

The Housing Management Sub-Committee were given the responsibility for the furnishing and equipping of the Communal Rooms. It was decided at the outset that all furniture should, where possible, be purchased through the Supplies Department of the Essex County Council so as to take advantage of the financial savings which can be effected in this way.

To this end the Sub-Committee invited that Deportment, through one of their specialists, to advise them and to make certain recommendations based on a detailed list of requirments drawn up by the Sub-Committee. An Order was placed with that Department, for the various items the total cost of which is in the region of £1,240 (£300 of which had been reserved in the Contract Price in respect of the Laundry equipment).

Welfare and other facilities incorporated include bell and visual warning system, fire precautions (both warning and smoke control) corridor and public external lighting, emergency battery lighting, corridor handrails, T.V. (all channels) V.H.F. and normal frequency radio facilities to all flatlets. Floor finishes are vinyl tiles wood block surround and carpeting in the Lounges. Entrances are ramped. A garage is provided for the Warden and also three invalid car garages have been built adjacent to the car park which provides room for 16 cars.

The building is orientated to ensure that each flatlet has the Living Room facing south and the flatlets are grouped in four blocks round a south aspect paved terrace with pedestrian access only from New Road to separate group entrances.   Turfing and tree planting with rose beds will provide a pleasant setting for the scheme which was occupied on the 31st March, 1969 having been completed inside the Contract period of 15 months.

The accommodation has been named ‘Amelia Blackwell House’ in recognition of the service which Councillor Mrs. A.R. Blackwell has given to the Council and the Community.

The Council would wish to extend their thanks to the Welfare Committee of the Essex County Council who have promised an annual contribution towards the running costs of the welfare aspects of the scheme as a whole.

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