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Rich Relatives or Ambridge Fairy? Patronage and Expectation in Ambridge Housing Pathways

Flapjacks and Feudalism

ISBN: 978-1-80071-389-5, eISBN: 978-1-80071-386-4

Publication date: 16 March 2021


Finding a suitable home can be difficult in a constrained housing market such as small rural village. Within Ambridge, only a small proportion of the homes in the village is known about, and it is rare for additional homes to be added to those where named characters live. This chapter takes a generational view of housing pathways and options, showing how Generation X, Millennial and Generation Z populations in Ambridge are housed. The chapter examines the extent to which characters rely on friends or family for solving their housing problems and considers the role of family wealth and wider dependence in determining housing pathways. The research shows that dependence on others' access to property is by far the most pronounced feature of housing options for these households. These pathways and housing choices are compared to the wider context in rural England, to consider the extent to which luck, in the form of the mythical ‘Ambridge Fairy’, plays a role in helping people to find housing. The ways in which the Ambridge Fairy manifests are also considered – showing that financial windfalls, unexpectedly available properties and convenient patrons are more likely to be available to people with social capital and established (and wealthy) family networks. The specific housing pathway of Emma Grundy is reviewed to reflect on the way in which her housing journey is typical of the rural working-class experience of her generation, within the wider housing policy context.




I would like to acknowledge my thanks to the excellent ThinkHouse resource ( which collates key pieces of housing research in one place and made my background research much easier.


Astbury, C. (2021), "Rich Relatives or Ambridge Fairy? Patronage and Expectation in Ambridge Housing Pathways", Headlam, N. and Courage, C. (Ed.) Flapjacks and Feudalism, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 211-238.



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