Saturday, 18 November 2017

Model houses for families

An early example of social housing, with a sign proudly proclaiming its purpose. Built by the wonderfully named Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes, this handsome Bloomsbury building opened in 1850. It housed 48 families. Each dwelling had a living room, two bedrooms, a scullery and a water closet, and there were communal bathrooms and a laundry. It made a profit of about 5.5% for its investors. The Society's President was Queen Victoria's husband Albert. They had already experimented with a large development in Birkenhead, Wirral, which housed over 300 families; this had not been a success, as the buildings were too close together and the bedrooms too small. However, the London buildings were successful, and as well as homes for families, the society had lodgings elsewhere in London for single men and women. The society was taken over by the Peabody Trust in 1965.

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