Homes For Heros

During the First World War there was Compulsory Service for all men from the age of eighteen. This revealed that vast numbers were undersized and malnourished. They had been underfed and lived in bad housing all their lives, but this was the first real review of public health across the nation. It shocked everyone and Lloyd George, who could pluck a popular slogan from the air, promised 'Homes For Heroes'. The returning soldiers would have decent houses to live in and, after 1924 and the Labour Wheatley Act, these began to appear. Again, the need was greater in other parts of London than in Stoke Newington and no 'Homes For Heroes' houses were built here. Elsewhere in London the housing need was more urgent and different solutions were found to the common problem.

Where there was open space, in for example, Muswell Hill and Tottenham, they built cottage estates, with long gardens. In old built up areas like Hoxton, old properties were demolished and five-storey blocks of flats built on the sites. No blocks were built in Stoke Newington at this period, but some Stoke Newington people were re-housed in the new London County Council flats at White Hart Lane.

Building "Homes for Heroes" in Cities

These two examples show how councils tackled the problem in towns and in the countryside.

From The Growth of St Marylebone and Paddington, by Jack Whitehead.

Building "Homes for Heroes" in the Country

In Muswell Hill, where there were still fields and woods, some of the thousand year old Middlesex Forest was cut down and a large estate of cottages with big gardens was built.

Plans of the Coppetts Road cottages with their bathrooms in the kitchens.

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.

Both the above pictures are from 'The Growth of Muswell Hill', by Jack Whitehead.

Stoke Newington housing was relatively good, compared with some other parts of Hackney. Some houses were still very desirable but there were pockets which were very bad, as there were all over London. At this period Stoke Newington did not build any municipal flats but took advantage of some of those offered by the London County Council, which had been building since 1900. Some people from Stroud Green were among the first who moved into the Coppetts Road Estate, so I am sure some from Stoke Newington went there as well.

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Revised: January 13, 2008 1:07 PM