The Right of Councils to build and let properties

In the 19th Century Local Councils were not allowed to build houses and let them to poor people. This was thought to be the right of private enterprise. Many philanthropic societies built blocks of flats. People like Ruskin bought properties and let them to poor but respectable people, but even Ruskin thought he should get 5% return on his money. Philanthropists like Peabody built blocks of flats as near as Essex Road, in Islington, but Gibson Gardens is the only example I know in Stoke Newington.

Despite all efforts, private money could not build enough houses at low rents for all the poor people who needed decent homes, and in 1900 Local Authorities were given the right to build and let.

Compared with the older parts of London, Stoke Newington houses were good. The majority of the houses had been built without bathrooms: many had outside lavatories, but, relatively speaking, the houses were sound, so Stoke Newington Council did not build any flats at that time.

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Revised: December 27, 2008 12:18 PM