Home for Good - A History of Social Housing in North Eastern Derbyshire

Every Home Holds a Story

Home for Good is an exciting project at Derbyshire Law Centre supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. It explores the history and heritage of social housing in North Eastern Derbyshire through oral history, photographs, written accounts, documents and objects contributed by local people.

900

Earliest records of social housing in the UK

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First Recorded Almshouse

The first recorded almshouse was built in York, part funded by King Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great.

936 AD

1300

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Statute of Cambridge 1388

The Statute of Cambridge limited the mobility of beggars, labourers and the disabled. It distinguished between able bodied and ‘impotent’ poor. The poor continued to be looked after by monasteries and charities.

1338
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Vagabonds and Beggars Act 1495

An Act which emphasised the reliance on charity of those unfit for work, who were allowed to beg. All others (‘Vagabonds, idle and suspected persons’) were to be put in the stocks for 3 days before being returned to the Hundred they came from.

1495

1500

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Reformation spreads to England

Monasteries were suppressed and the Church reduced provision for the poor, paving the way for Poor Laws.

1517
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Poor Law Act 1535

Responsibility for counties, districts and parishes to administer (but not fund) relief for the poor. Relief to be collected from voluntary contributions and charities. Able-bodied poor to work, children from age 5-13 to be apprentices.

1535
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Statute of Legal Settlement 1547

The Statute of Legal Settlement orders cottages to be built for the “impotent poor” where they will be “relieved or cured”. Vagabonds treated harshly – branded and enslaved.

1547
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Poor Act 1552

Established a Collector of Alms in each Parish. A register of the licensed poor was to be kept. Begging prohibited on the basis that Parish would distribute sufficient relief.

1552
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Act for Relief of the Poor 1555

Required those with means to pay a poor relief rate, which was collected by the Parish. Those who refused were to be fined. The rate funded assistance for ‘aged, poor, impotent and decayed persons’.

1555
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First House of Correction Established

The first house of correction a forerunner of the workhouse was established in Bridewell, London, to provide work and shelter for the poor.

1555
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Poor Act 1575

Established houses of correction for those who refused to work.

1575
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Poor Law Act 1597

“Overseers of the Poor” in each Parish were to arrange work and apprenticeships for the able-bodied poor and to administer relief for those unable to work.

1597

1600

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Poor Relief Act 1601

Consolidated previous legislation. Parishes continue to administer poor relief. The able-bodied poor & their children were expected to work or be apprenticed. The impotent poor were supported by their Parish and usually given “out-relief” – bread, clothing, fuel, rent, money, and were not housed. Able-bodied poor refusing work were sent to houses of correction and given hard labour.

1601
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Settlement Act 1662

Settlement Act – removal of people to their place of origin if they were likely to be in need of relief.

1662
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Knatchbulls Act (The Workhouse Test Act) 1722

Parishes were to set up workhouses, either individually or in “union” with other parishes. The first Workhouse in Chesterfield was built in South Place in 1735-7. Those provided for in workhouses were not entitled to further relief as the workhouse provided shelter, food, clothing and work.

 

Chesterfield’s first workhouse, built in 1735-7 in South Place and used until 1839 when the workhouse on Newbold Road was completed.

1722
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Gilberts Act 1782

Gilberts Act – Poor relief now to be organised on a county basis. Unions of parishes to set up workhouses for the benefit of the old, sick, disabled people and orphan children. The able-bodied had to work – their wages were subsidised by poor relief.

1782
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Poor Law Amendment Act (New Poor Law) 1834

Introduced in response to the rising cost of provision and concerns that people would rather claim relief than work. Relief was only to be provided in workhouses, where men, women and children were to be separated.  Workhouses were designed to discourage applicants for assistance.  Many unions needed to build new workhouses to cater for the provisions of the Act – the Chesterfield Union of 34 parishes from North-Eastern Derbyshire built the workhouse on Newbold Road in 1837-9.

1834
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Metropolitan Houseless Poor Act 1864

The Act allowed workhouses to provide “casual wards” for vagrants in the London area.

1864
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Labouring Classes Dwelling Act 1866

Labouring Classes Dwelling Act allowed the Public Works Loan Commission to loan money to fund construction of housing for the labouring classes; the 1866 Sanitary Act made overcrowding of dwellings illegal.

1866
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First Council Housing built in Liverpool

St Martin’s Cottages, 124 tenement flats with a toilet for each were built in 1869.  Victoria Square Dwellings in Liverpool, flats built around central open space, were completed in 1885.

1869
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Artizans and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act 1875

Artizans and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act – local authorities could compulsorily purchase dwellings “unfit for human habitation” so they could build and let new homes.  Amended by 1879 Act of the same name, but problems of rehousing displaced tenants at affordable rent continued.

1875
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Chesterfield Municipal Almshouses built

The almshouses were built in 1875 from a trust provided by the wills of Thomas Large, George Taylor and Sarah Rose. There were 11 houses, administered by the Chesterfield municipal Trustees for “poor persons of good character”.  They were demolished in 1971 to allow a carpark to be available.  The residents were rehoused in accommodation on St Helen’s Close, Newbold Road.

1875
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Housing of the Working Classes Act 1885

Housing of the Working Classes Act – local authorities were given enforcement powers over sanitary conditions and overcrowding in housing.

1885
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Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890

Housing the Working Classes Act – local authorities can build houses, funded from rates.  In London, land can be purchased for this purpose.

Spread Eagle Yard, Beetwell Street, Chesterfield, 1896
Courtesy of Derbyshire County Council and www.picturethepast.org.uk

1890

1900

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The Chesterfield Improvement Act 1901

Under this Act, an enquiry was held in 1911 into the purchase and/or building of houses by Chesterfield Borough Council.

1901
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First Garden City

Development of the first garden city at Letchworth, Hertfordshire, planned and designed by architects Parker and Unwin.  Richard Parker was born in Chesterfield in 1867, son of a bank manager, and lived in New Square as a child. Raymond Unwin worked as an engineer at Staveley Works.  He married Richard Parker’s sister Ethel; Parker and Unwin formed an architectural partnership with the aim of improving housing conditions for the working classes.  They were part of the Garden City movement, and had a great influence on the building of social housing in the twentieth century.

1903
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Housing & Town Planning Act 1909

Housing & Town Planning Act – compelled local authorities to deal with slums (by clearance) and encouraged them to develop new estates following “garden city” principles.  Provision for establishment of housing co-operatives.

1909
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Housing & Town Planning Act (Addison Act) 1919

Resulted from the Tudor Walters Committee report of 1917 which dealt with the provision of decent housing after the first world war.   The Addison Act provided subsidies for local authorities with the aim of building 500,000 houses within 3 years (Homes fit for Heroes).  It resulted in the first houses being built by Chesterfield Borough Council, on St Augustine’s Road in 1920.  These houses had a parlour, living room, scullery and three bedrooms.  They cost about £1,000 to build excluding the price paid for the land.

1919
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Housing Act 1923

Reduced subsidies to local authorities.

1923
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Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1924

Increased subsidies by government to Local Authorities so they can provide accommodation for low-paid workers.

Houses being built on land formerly known as Brown’s Tip.  The photograph was taken near Summerfield Road.

Courtesy of Derbyshire County Council and www.picturethepast.org.uk

1924
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Local Government Act 1929

Abolishes the workhouse system.

1929
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Housing Act 1930

Councils must complete slum clearance and rehouse residents.  Special subsidy for flats.

 

1930
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Housing Act 1935

Housing Act 1935 Government subsidy per person for slum clearance, depending on the numbers rehoused.

Britt’s Court, Beetwell Street, Chesterfield 1936 – photograph taken by Council before demolition.
Photograph courtesy of Derbyshire County Council and www.picturethepast.org.uk

1935
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Housing (Emergency Homes) Act 1939

Allowed Local Authorities to repair homes damaged by war.

1939
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Housing (Temporary Accommodation) Act 1944

To allow the construction of 300,000 homes in 2 years after the end of the Second World War, often to replace buildings destroyed by bombing.  Local authorities can provide prefabricated buildings.

You can view Mrs Oldfield’s history here.

1944

1945

The post war period

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New Towns Act 1946

Provides for the building of New Towns.

1946
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Housing Act 1946

Increased subsidies to local authorities and allowed them to borrow from the Public Works Loan Board.

 

1946
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Town & Country Planning Act 1947

1947
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National Assistance Act 1948

National Assistance Act abolishes the Poor Law. Suitable accommodation to be provided by local authorities for those with physical or mental health problems.

1948
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Housing Act 1949

Councils to take account of all housing needs and not just those of the “working classes”.

Thirlmere Road, Newbold, Chesterfield.
Image courtesy of R Wilsher and www.picturethepast.org.uk

1949
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Housing Act 1952

Councils could sell council houses.  The subsidy paid to Councils for housing increased.

1952
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House Repairs & Rents Act 1954

Aimed to increase owner-occupation

1954
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Housing Subsidies Act 1956

Subsidies to local authorities were now restricted to clearing slums and rehousing their occupants.  A premium was to be paid to councils building high rise flats.

1956
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Housing Act, Rent Act 1957

Councils encouraged to increase rent and enabled to sell stock.

Image courtesy of R Wilsher and www.picturethepast.org.uk

1957

1960

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Housing Act 1961

Gave local authorities powers to limit the number of people living in a property in an attempt to prevent overcrowding.

1961
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Local Government Finance Act 1973

Fixed the amount of rent councils could charge.  Triggered the Clay Cross rent rebellion – see oral history on the histories page.

 

1973
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Housing Act 1974

Introduced state funding for social housing development by housing associations.  This started the development of housing associations as the major provider of social housing

1974
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Housing Act 1977

Provided the first laws on homelessness and duties of councils to provide assistance to homeless people.

1977
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Housing Act 1980

Saw the start of the right to buy scheme in its new form.  Councils had to sell properties to tenants at a discount from the market price when they applied.  Houses were not built to replace those sold, and so the Act started a huge reduction in the number of council houses.

1980
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Housing Act 1985

Created a right for a family member to succeed/take over a tenancy following the death of the main tenant.  The right applied to a husband or wife (later a civil partner) who had lived with the family member for 1 year before the death as long as that tenancy had not been passed on in this way before.

S82 Also created secure tenancies for council tenants which meant a tenancy could not be brought to an end by the Landlord except by obtaining a court order.

1985
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Housing Act 1988

This created Assured tenancies as the new long term tenancy used by social landlords (ie housing associations and not local authorities).  Under these tenancies, a tenant could only be evicted if the landlord proved a specific ground for possession and obtained a court order.

1988
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Housing Act 1996

Brought in a number of changes to social housing including:

Anti-social behaviour injunctions– this enabled social landlords to obtain an injunction against a tenant who engages in “housing-related anti-social conduct”

Introductory tenancies – this is a type of tenancy for new tenants. They have no security for the first year, so that if the council applies to the court for possession of the property in that time, the court must allow it.

1996
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Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Gave local authorities more powers in relation to anti-social behaviour of tenants and created ASBOs.

1998
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Housing Act 2004

Placed duties on local authorities to inspect rented properties and if necessary take action for hazards.

2004
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Housing Regeneration Act 2008

This Act ended the concept of a ‘tolerated trespasser’.  Many secure and assured tenants of social landlords had fallen into this category as a result of breaching court orders given when they had of rent arrears.  The Act meant that these people lost security and their homes could be repossessed.

2008
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Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014

Introduced an ‘Absolute’ ground for possession for anti-social behaviour, which gave the courts no option but to make a possession order in anti-social behaviour cases.

 

2014