The Association thought some houses could be built on these principles, but money had to be raised from shareholders. This was before the Limited Liability Act. A special Act of Parliament had to be passed so that shareholders were liable only for the value of their share and not for everything they owned (as Lloyd's shareholders still are).
The Association took the name 'The Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes' and its first venture was 'The Metropolitan Buildings' in Old Pancras Road, King's Cross. They consisted of 110 sets of rooms, 20 two-room and 90 three-room flats, in five-storey blocks.
Southwood Smith published a book on the results of the experiment. In the three years 1850-52, child deaths in the Buildings were only one third those of the Metropolis as a whole. The contrast to The Potteries, in Ladbroke Grove, was even greater.1
In 1861, Hollingshead had described The Potteries as:-
Southwood Smith wrote:-
This is the sort of information that Octavia Hill had heard discussed all her life. No wonder that she brought such a fund of knowledge and common sense to her housing work.
Building the New London Fever Hospital
Under the Great Northern Railway Act, 1846, a private Act of Parliament, The Great Northern Railway Co., compulsorily purchased the land which was required for King’s Cross Station as the terminus for the new London to York Railway. Some 60 acres were acquired for £66,407, partly from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and partly from the Royal Hospital of St. Bartholomew.2
The Fever Hospital was rebuilt on a much better site in Nottingham Road, Islington. The following account in The Builder, August 12, 1848 gives a very clear description.