This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act – which paved the way for council housebuilding on a large scale. Inside Housing has a whole month of special activity planned and we want to hear your stories. Picture: Getty
The Housing Act 1919, more commonly known as the Addison Act after then-minister for health and housing Lord Christopher Addison, paved the way for funding to councils to build 500,000 homes over three years.
It is credited with establishing the principle of large-scale, state-funded provision of council housing at low rents.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the act receiving Royal Assent in July, we have a month of special activities planned, including interviews with senior council housing figures, exclusive debate and comment, and investigations into what local authorities, past and present, are doing to help provide housing.
This will signal the start of a stronger focus on local authority housing issues over the coming months on www.insidehousing.co.uk and in our weekly print and digital editions.
This page will be updated throughout the coming weeks and months with content about the Addison Act and council housing issues.
Scroll down to find what we have written so far about the Addison Act and some of our latest council housing articles.
We want to hear from you about what your local authority is doing to mark the Addison Act and about the housing issues in your area, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Alexandra Estate, Camden, north London
One hundred years ago, a piece of legislation led to the birth of council housing. Gavriel Hollander introduces Inside Housing’s celebration of the centenary of the Addison Act.
It is so ingrained in our national consciousness that it is hard to imagine just how radical the idea of local authority built and funded housing must have seemed a century ago. Before World War I, almost all housing in the UK was built by private developers (albeit with some notable municipal exceptions in major cities). Given this, it is unsurprising that both quality and consistency of delivery were variable.
The post-war introduction of subsidies for councils to solve the blight of slum estates was supposed to right a wrong and – in the words of then-prime minister David Lloyd George – provide “homes fit for heroes”.
The so-called Addison Act – the very first housing act passed in this country, named after its sponsor Dr (later Lord) Christopher Addison – received royal assent exactly 100 years ago this month.
It may never have achieved its aspiration of delivering 500,000 homes (something that may sound familiar to modern-day watchers of government housing policy) but it was the start of a movement.
New estates began to crop up across the country, built in accordance with recommendations from the Tudor Walters Report, which was produced to parliament in November 1918. This built on the ‘Garden City Principles’ and suggested a number of improvements to the standard of public housing. These included limiting the length of terraced-housing blocks, mandating a minimum number of rooms and providing indoor bathrooms.
The post-war introduction of subsidies for councils to solve the blight of slum estates was supposed to right a wrong and – in the words of the prime minister David Lloyd George – provide “homes fit for heroes”
Although the abandonment of subsidy in 1921 and a change of government the following year curtailed the immediate growth of council-built housing, the seed had been sown.
This month Inside Housing celebrates the centenary of the Addison Act with a month-long series of articles looking at how it transformed the social fabric of the country and created the housing sector we know today.
Over the course of this month, we visit four estates, each symbolising a different era of council housebuilding. We also take a look at whether new-found financial freedom for local authorities could be the catalyst for a new generation of estates.
To kick off the series, acclaimed social historian John Boughton visits one of the first estates made possible by Lord Addison’s historic legislation: Sea Mills in Bristol. We then travel to Stevenage to look at how the damage to Britain’s inner cities during the Blitz led to the new town movement and a fresh wave of estates through the 1950s and 1960s.
Martin Hilditch, editor of Inside Housing, takes a trip to Hulme in Manchester to examine how the private and public sector had to work together in the 1980s to deliver a regeneration project, which is still thriving more than 30 years later.
Finally, we go to Nottingham and look at one council with grand ambitions to provide housing to a new generation of tenants.
There may still be myriad challenges to face when it comes to providing good-quality, genuinely affordable housing for those most in need, but without the passing of an act of parliament 100 years ago, the sector we work in today may never have come to exist. That alone is worth celebrating.
To read more about the act, go to: www.insidehousing.co.uk/AddisonAct
Memories of council housing: the human legacy of the Addison Act As the centenary of the first council houses approaches, Peter Apps hears from some of the people who have lived in them in the decades since
Many of the sector’s current leaders began their journeys in council teams One hundred years of council housing has delivered a generation of sector leaders as well as millions of council homes, writes Mervyn Jones
Stevenage: home of the new town revolution Stevenage was the first of the post-war ‘new towns’. Gavriel Hollander visits the town to see how it has changed.
100 Years of Council Housing: your tweets from week one Inside Housing has been encouraging councils to say what they are doing to build homes and to mark 100 years of council housing. Here we feature a selection of your tweets
Kit Malthouse: 'Council housing is coming back with a vengeance' Housing minister Kit Malthouse tells Martin Hilditch why growing numbers of councils are looking to get back into development
Sea Mills: we visit one of the first estates to benefit from the Addison Act Social historian John Boughton visits a place in Bristol still cherished today
The Housing Podcast: is council housebuilding about to make a comeback Nearly 100 years after the introduction of the Addison Act, which kick-started the building of the first council estates in the UK, the Housing Podcast team examines the state of council housebuilding today
Why the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act should spark a council housing comeback Let’s make 2019 the start of a renaissance of council housing, writes Martin Hilditch
Are new borrowing freedoms sparking a revival of council housebuilding? The Addison Act marked the birth of council housebuilding. A century later, could recent financial freedom spark a renaissance? Nathaniel Barker investigates.
How Cornwall is taking inspiration from Christopher Addison Cornwall Council is one of many keeping the legacy alive, writes Kate Kennally.
The Addison Act - celebrating 100 years of council housing This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act – which paved the way for council housebuilding on a large scale. Inside Housing has a whole month of special activity planned and we want to hear your stories
The 100-year anniversary of the Addison Act means it’s time to talk about council housing Let’s use the 100th anniversary of council housing as we know it to flag up some of the great work that’s been done – and kick-start a conversation about the future, writes Martin Hilditch
London must recapture the housebuilding ambition of the Addison Act Councils are committed to development but are still facing unfair restrictions, writes Darren Rodwell of London Councils
Marking 100 years since the ‘Addison Act’ Professor Mark Swenarton writes about the Homes Fit for Heroes Centenary Conference