Home Fronts: 150 Years of Social Housing in Haringey
Ensuring access to good and affordable housing should be considered one of the most significant and caring acts that any nation can offer its citizens. Yet, despite it being more than a hundred years since Lloyd George’s government first intervened to provide what we now refer to as social housing, through the introduction of the 1919 Housing Act, some of the issues of inequality in this basic requirement remain with us today. The unfinished story of Grenfell Tower clearly shows there is still a multi-tiered system in the quality of housing within our society, and even exposes a rowing back from the progress made in the provision of social housing up until the 1970s.
Focusing on the LFA’s 2021 theme of ‘Care’, this installation explores the legacy of social housing in the London Borough of Haringey through a series of 30 black-and-white photographs of dwellings that reflect a societal sense of ‘care’. For the purposes of this installation, social housing includes homes built by philanthropic organisations such as alms houses, model houses and workers’ dwellings as well as houses and flats built by the municipal and local authorities following the Housing Act. The selected photographs, taken across the borough, represent a wide variety of social housing from the 1850s to the 1970s and they demonstrate an architectural richness that contributes to the built environment, going beyond the mere provision of homes. They also remind us that we need to value and care for these buildings that reflect our shared local history and experience.