Boundary Estate hosts celebration of council housing

Mayor of Tower Hamlets cuts a cake at the celebration. Picture: THH

Mayor of Tower Hamlets cuts a cake at the celebration. Picture: THH - Credit: THH

The country’s oldest housing estate has hosted a celebration to mark 100 years of council housing.

Bollywood dancing at the street party. Picture: THH

Bollywood dancing at the street party. Picture: THH - Credit: THH

An exhibition exploring the history of social homes and the pioneering Boundary Estate took place at the St Hilda's East Community Centre, along with a street party featuring music, craft activities and food and drink.

In July 1919, the Addison Act - giving local authorities responsibility for building good quality working class housing - became law.

The prime minister at the time, David Lloyd George, promised "homes fit for heroes" returning from the First World War.

But it was 30 years previously that Bethnal Green's Boundary Estate - now run by Tower Hamlets Homes - became a pioneer for social housing.

The Boundary Estate street party. Picture: THH

The Boundary Estate street party. Picture: THH - Credit: THH

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The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 gave the London County Council, which had been set up just two years previously, the legal basis to manage housing estates.

It chose the Boundary Estate - the site of the former Old Nichol slum - as its flagship scheme.

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Director of St Hilda's East, Rupert Williams, said: "We are delighted to have hosted Tower Hamlets Homes' exhibition in our community centre.

"It is highly appropriate, as St Hilda's is cited in the heart of the Boundary Estate, the first full municipal estate in the country and part of the rich history of social housing.

"It is doubly welcome as we are celebrating our own 130th anniversary this year!"

Chief executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, Susmita Sen, added: "The Boundary Estate has provided safe and affordable homes for 130 years and we're proud to be looking after the homes and carrying on that tradition.

"Social housing has played, and continues to play, a vital role in society and this exhibition showed the special place of the estate in our social history."

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs, who attended the celebration, said: "For a century the Boundary Estate has provided people with quality social housing in the heart of the East End.

"I was delighted to join residents to recognise the important contribution social housing has made to our society."

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