Homes For Heroes - Municipal Housing After 1918

After the end of the First World War soldiers were returning with demands for a better country and especially for better housing. The soldiers were in no mood to compromise. A Soviet was set up in Glasgow. The country was in revolt about the slaughter and privations of the First World War. Russia had created a revolution which was encouraging people in parts of Europe to follow suit.

At the outbreak of the War the upper classes, which had been well fed and housed all their lives, were graded A1 in the Army. Enormous numbers of others, badly fed and abominably housed, had to be graded C3. This contrast had shocked the country. In 1918, Lloyd George, who could sense the political mood on the wing, coined the phrase 'Homes For Heroes'. It was immensely popular and Lloyd George's rhetoric became government policy. The Treasury gave an open-ended authority for money to be spent on housing. The appearance of small groups of new houses in different parts of the country was seen as a token of the changes to come. And the revolutionary fervour was partly stilled.

Three years later, in 1921, the country was in the post-war slump. Unemployed miners from South Wales were singing in the streets of London. The cut-backs under the 'Geddes Axe', which were to lead to the 1926 General Strike, were being put into place. The hard-faced men were in charge again, and the open-ended housing subsidy was withdrawn. However, the 1923 and especially the 1924 Housing Act, under the first Labour government, did continue the momentum for Local Authorities to provide houses for low-income families.

Coppetts Road, Muswell Hill1

The drawings show a typical parlour-type house, with the bath in the kitchen, an outside WC and fuel-store and a cold-water tank in an unboarded loft. This design and a non-parlour one were the standard designs of the estate.


  1. See ‘The Growth of Muswell Hill’, by Jack Whitehead, p. 4.


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Updated July 5, 2011