Social Housing in London

Peabody Buildings, Clerkenwell

Peabody Buildings ClerkenwellThe Peabody Trust was founded in 1862 by American merchant banker George Peabody, to provide housing and support to various charitable schemes for people in need in London. The fund was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1948, and has become known as the Peabody Trust. Today there are over twenty organisations located in both London and America, which owe their existence to George Peabody and reflect his varied interests in the fields of housing, education, music, science and merchant banking.

The Peabody Buildings were blocks of Improved Model Dwellings for the respectable working class, which replaced the slums with neat and clean small flats. The living accommodation were self contained, though kitchen areas tended to be communal for all but the most basic cooking. Sanitary provision was also originally provided in sets. They lacked bathrooms at a time when only the extremely rich had them. All the tenants were carefully selected and were expected to be in good steady work and were thus not the poorest.

The Peabody estate in Clerkenwell borders on Farringdon Lane and includes ten original Victorian flat blocks, now with a small number of houses dating from the 1960s.

Those known to have lived here:-
1891 Block H 7 - John Reffell, Jeweller
1901 Block B 21 - Mary Reffell, Widow of John

Grosvenor Estate, Gatliff Road, Pimlico

Gatliff CloseThe first Model Lodging Houses were erected on the Grosvenor property in the 1850s in Grosvenor Mews and Bourdon Street by the builder John Newson and the St George's Parochial Association. The existence of these buildings and their effect upon the neighbourhood impressed the second Marquess of Westminster, for in the late 1860s a policy was introduced in which both he and his son Earl Grosvenor, the future first Duke, were personally involved. The stated aim was to encourage further improved dwellings on his estates.

The Estate's earliest and largest venture was Gatliff Buildings on what is now Ebury Bridge Road, which was erected in 1866/7 to house one hundred and forty nine families by the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes. In this project the second Marquess was closely involved, as the Metropolitan Association was short of funds and could be enticed to build only when he agreed personally to advance them the necessary capital of £21,000 at a low rate of interest. As a result the Estate was in full control of the enterprise, and Thomas Cundy III became the architect. Today the estate is surrounded by new build flats and apartments, the price of which would truly amaze the Marquess if he were to return to the present day.

Those known to have lived here:-
1871 - 10 Gatcliff Buildings - Amelia Reffell
1881 - 75 Gatcliff Buildings - John Reffell, Gardener
1891 - 75 Gatcliff Buildings - John Reffell, Gardener
1901 - 78 Gatcliff Buildings - Amelia Reffell, Widow

Bowmans Buildings, Penfold Street, Marylebone

This estate was built in 1883 and acquired by the Peabody Trust in 1972.  It currently comprises 50 general needs properties.

Those known to have lived here:-
1911 - Amy Elizabeth Dane

Dibdin House, Maida Vale

Dibdin House Maida ValeIn the 1920s and 1930s Maida Vale was described as one of London's most desirable suburbs, with 'handsome piles of residential mansions' and superior detached houses. The ward retained a lower density than any other in Paddington except the two Lancaster Gate wards, having only 81 persons to an acre in 1921. Some large houses were subdivided, but since no fresh building land was available, the main change was the replacement of houses by flats. In Edgware Road an agreement of 1935 provided for the roadside villas and poor housing behind Andover Place to make way for 250 working class flats, which was opened on 15 October 1938 by the bishop of London as Dibdin House. The flats were the first on the estate to be in the direct control of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who acquired a long lease from the beneficial lessees.

Those known to have lived here:-
1938-1960 - Amy Elizabeth Dane