The past 100 years of council homes in the borough will be celebrated next week at the launch of a month-long exhibition hosted by the Museum of Croydon.
The 1919 Housing Act heralded a huge council house building programme across the country in the decades since, including around 25,000 built in Croydon.
On Friday 2 August lifelong council tenants, councillors and council staff will gather at the launch of the exhibition, which will include:
• Photographs projected onto the foyer wall of council housing since the early 20th century
• Display cases of tenants’ day-to-day objects, including rent books and furniture brochures
• Written case studies from tenants across the borough
• A talk by borough archivist Lindsay Ould on the research for the exhibition
• Vintage household items that visitors can handle, from irons and toasters to Bovril jars
• Council archives including maps and minutes from housing committees
One of the tenants to attend the launch will be Jean Wayman, who has lived in council houses and flats for the last 61 years across New Addington and Waddon. The mother-of-three and former foster parent watched her current home in Layton Crescent being built 40 years ago while she previously lived in another council house opposite.
The 84-year-old said: “It has given me a home, stability and a place to bring up my children, and some people have not had this. I’ve always been very lucky; I’ve found we have done very well off the council and we have never had any problems.”
The first council homes built in the borough after the Act was passed were in Godstone Road (1920), Woodside (1921) and Norbury (1921), with key groups being rehoused including ex-servicemen, First World War widows and a growing commercial class such as clerks, postal workers and tram conductors. After the Second World War, the new estate at New Addington was begun in 1948, and Croydon’s first high-rise blocks were built in 1957 in Lodge Lane and Violet Lane.
The 2 August launch event from 11am to 1pm will be open to members of the public, and the exhibition at Croydon Clocktower will then be open throughout August from 9am-6pm on Mondays to Fridays, and until 5pm on Saturdays.
“This exhibition marks an important part of Croydon’s modern history, and it underlines how important social housing has been and still remains today.
“I’m pleased that many local tenants have contributed their mementoes to make this a very personal celebration of council homes in Croydon, and that afterwards some exhibits will be offered to our collections for posterity. I hope as many people as possible visit this exhibition over the summer holidays.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services