Industrial Dwellings Society
- Date Established:
The Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company Limited was founded by Nathan Mayer Rothschild in 1885. Its purpose was to provide 'the industrial classes with commodious and healthy Dwellings at a minimum rent'. Funds to build the Dwellings were raised by issuing shares to investors, who were guaranteed a 4% return.
Along with Rothschild, a highly successful banker, the company's founders included several other prominent figures in the Anglo-Jewish establishment, such as the philanthropist Frederick Mocatta and the politician Samuel Montagu.
The Company's aim was to improve the overcrowded and insanitary conditions in the East End, which were partly a result of the large numbers of immigrants arriving from Eastern Europe. Although the Dwellings were not built only for Jews, Jews made up the majority of the tenants, reflecting the population in the East End at the time. The company had built six blocks, comprising more than 1,500 flats, by 1905.
The Dwellings were spacious and provided tenants with all the most modern conveniences: each flat had its own toilet, scullery, and balcony. Over time, more facilities were provided, such as gas lighting, drying rooms, and public baths.
Gradually, the company expanded. It began to build Dwellings outside the East End in areas such as Camberwell and Hackney that were considered healthier because they were less crowded. However, demand outstripped supply. Up to 1,000 people were on the waiting lists for flats in the Dwellings.
This type of affordable housing for working-class tenants was a forerunner of council housing. When the Industrial Dwellings Company was founded, there was no council housing in Britain, and even in the 1920s and 1930s council housing was very limited, so organisations like the Industrial Dwellings Company had an important role to play.
In 1952 the company was renamed the Industrial Dwellings Society (1885) Limited. The society is now a registered housing association and continues to manage, build and develop social housing across London. Its purpose remains to provide accommodation at fair rents to those most in need, and it still has close links to the Jewish community.
Suggested link:Industrial Dwellings Society
- The Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company Limited
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