The Addison Act 1919 - 2019 100 Years of Council Housing

Dr. Christopher Addison

1st Viscount Addison, Responsible for the Bill that created Social Housing in 1919

It shall be the duty of every local authority within the meaning of Part III. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, to consider the needs of their area with respect to the provision of houses for the working classes.”

The Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919

The Addison Act

100 Years of Council Housing

In 1919, following the end of the First World War, the UK Government recognised the need for quality publicly funded council housing to be built – offering affordable accommodation to people across the country, including Doncaster.

Mayor Jackson announces the Armistice at Doncaster Mansion House

This piece of legislation was commonly known as The Addison Act (named after the then Minister for Housing, Dr Christopher Addison). For the first time subsidies for council house building were introduced and there was an aim to provide 500,000 ‘homes fit for heroes’ within a three-year period. Although less than half of this target was eventually met during that timescale, it set in place the principle for publicly funded housing projects which benefited local communities for years to come.

Edlington Peace Day Celebration July 1919
British troops returning from London

This Web Site seeks to mark the centenary of the Addison Act and the contribution that council housing has made to Doncaster and its residents since then.

See our animated timeline below.

Social Housing in Yorkshire around 1928

100 years and counting for Frances

Our tenant, 100 year old Frances Shorthose, has spent over 75 years living in Council housing and we are delighted to have been a small part of her journey. We spoke to Frances to find out a little about her story. “I moved into my first Council house with my husband Ernest in 1943 and it was just a few streets away from where I live now. I’ve still got the rent book from when we lived there! I’ve been in Council houses ever since. This is the fourth Council home I’ve had and I’ve been in this house for 25 years.”

1940s Prefab housing in Doncaster still standing today!

“I'm very happy, it’s a lovely neighbourhood and my neighbours are all so friendly. One time during the Second World War, a landmine dropped in the street outside our house. My husband told me to stay inside while he went out to see if he could help. Ernest was a male charge nurse during the war and was based nearby at St Catherine's Hospital in Balby. Things have changed a lot over the years, of course. I remember when it used to be all fields around this area – when I was young you could run from Weston Road all the way to Loversall in 15 minutes across the field! The houses were different back then too. We used to have a coal fire in the house and at night when it was cold you would have run upstairs to bed quick, or heat a plate up on the fire, wrap it in newspaper and put it in your bed to keep your feet warm! It's a different world now!”

Frances’ rent book from 1943

Social Housing in Yorkshire around 1936

Council Housing Today

Doncaster Council and St Leger Homes

In 2005, Doncaster Council created an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) called St Leger Homes to manage its housing stock of over 20,000 homes locally.

St Leger Court, Doncaster

St Leger Homes is now an award winning company which provides excellent housing services across Doncaster in the social and private sectors working in partnership with the Council. It also runs employment and education opportunities for tenants through its World of Work academy and its local apprentice placements. St Leger Homes completed the Decent Homes Standard upgrades in 2015, ensuring significant improvements to interiors and exteriors of properties - and continues to invest over £30 million a year into improving Doncaster Council's housing stock.

Aerial view of Balby Bridge Estate, Doncaster

This Web Site has been created by staff at St Leger Homes. Find out more about their ongoing work at www.stlegerhomes.co.uk

I think there are so many good things about being a Council tenant. For one, you don’t have any worries if there’s an issue with your home where something needs repairing because you know that help is just a phone call away.”

Betty Clayton, St Leger Homes Tenant

Betty Clayton
I have been living in my Council bungalow in Doncaster for ten years. It’s different from a private landlord as St Leger Homes and the Council listen to what tenants say and take our opinions on board.”

Brian Whitmore, St Leger Homes Tenant

Refurbished Social Housing - Doncaster 2007

Council Homes For The Future

Doncaster Council continues to build quality council housing locally, with its stock managed by St Leger Homes.

Iconic St Leger Homes Silver Van, New Builds 2019, Doncaster

Since 2013 over 415 new homes have been built across the borough, with a further 20 homes scheduled to be built by 2019.

New Builds 2019, Doncaster

This year a new development of Council homes at Bristol Grove in Wheatley was named Social Housing Development of the Year at the Local Authority Building Control ‘Bricks’ Awards.

What will homes look like in 100 Years ?

We asked the school children of Doncaster to show us!

Do you fancy having a go yourself?

Please do not forget to share them with us on Facebook and Twitter.

New build social housing - Doncaster 2019

Bathrooms have changed through the ages

Interiors have changed in social housing properties over the last century.

Just take a look at these bathrooms!

Which do you prefer?

Dr. Christopher Addison

For more information on St Leger Homes please visit our website


Our speak to us Tel: 01302 862862

St Leger Court, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5ND

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