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Happy Birthday Council Housing

Housing Matters

116 years ago today, the Prince of Wales stood near the bandstand at Arnold Circus and officially opened the new Boundary Estate in Bethnal Green. There had been isolated examples of municipal house building before, but this was the first large-scale council estate – 1,000 homes with schools, shops, public baths, laundries and other facilities that underlined the intention of both clearing slums and creating a lasting social, as well as a domestic, environment.  As with every other urban regeneration project before and since, there were negative aspects – higher rents, social (and some ethnic) profiling, paternalism and displacement.  But a walk around the Boundary today, still council housing despite several attempts at privatisation, is testament to an enduring vision that we need to rekindle and re-cast.


In the shadow of the Housing and Planning Bill that seeks to eliminate it, we need to not only defend council housing, but…

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