The area of Northern Ireland is 5,238 square miles and, of the population of 1,370,000, one-third live in Belfast. Londonderry is the next largest centre with 50,000 inhabitants, and there is then
a drop to between ten and twenty thousand in the next ten towns. While Rural District Councils in Ireland were encouraged by Government grants to build cottages for farm labourers from 1883,
there was little public housing in urban areas prior to 1919. Up to this date the position was not unlike that in England. In the period 1919-1939, however, when 4,000,000 houses were being built in England and Wales by private enterprise and local authorities, many fewer houses, proportionately, were built in Northern Ireland. Further, the grants available in Great Britain since 1933 for slum clearance were not available in Northern Ireland; consequently, while 250,000 slum houses were cleared in Great Britain before the war the problem remains practically untouched in Northern Ireland. The Northern I...