Early into the novel, in chapter 5, "Slumdom
," the Salvation Sisters introduce Ruth to a young child who has come to apologize on behalf of her mother, who was "dead drunk" when she hurt her child; the Sisters "turn up [the child's] sleeve and showed a large bruise above the wrist" (39).
Thus Peter Hall's famous conclusion in 1974 still seems to hold true 30 years later: 'It certainly was not the intentions of the founders of planning that people should live cramped lives in houses destined for premature slumdom
far from urban services or jobs, or that city dwellers should live in blank cliffs of flats far from the ground without access to play space for their children.
It was neither brotheldom nor slumdom
, but a neighbourly place of working-class families.
The few nineteenth-century houses that remain in a reasonable state have been rescued from slumdom
by being re-designed as self-contained flats.