Newcastle is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of council housing first being provided in the city.

A programme of events will mark the centenary of the Housing and Planning Act of July 1919 – otherwise known as the Addison Act – which made housing a national obligation.

In November 1918, Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George pledged to “build habitations fit for the heroes who have won the War.” After the Housing and Planning Act was passed, a large house building programme started, financed by treasury grants.

In Newcastle, the first houses built as a result of the Act were erected on the Pendower Estate, with houses on the Walker Estate and in other locations being built shortly afterwards.

Council housing on the Pendower Estate

From 31st July 2019, Newcastle City Library will be hosting From Homes Fit for Heroes to the Homes of the Future, an exhibition which will explore the challenges and celebrate the successes of 100 years of council housing in Newcastle.

The exhibition will showcase the council homes of today and peer into how social housing may be delivered in the future.

There will also be a number of satellite exhibitions – entitled Building Homes and Creating Communities – in various locations around Newcastle.

These exhibitions will use photographs, interactive activities and the recollections of local people to tell the story of council housing in areas such as Byker, Newbiggin Hall, Kenton and Scotswood. Other events will include talks and films.

The exhibitions and events are being delivered with help from local residents, community groups, Your Homes Newcastle, Northumbria University and Newcastle University.

A number of businesses are supporting and sponsoring the centenary celebrations, including Keepmoat, Tolent, IDPartnership and Ryders.

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Linda Hobson, said, “Council housing in Newcastle has a fascinating history and a bright future.”

“It isn’t just about building homes but about creating communities where people can live, raise families and grow older in an environment where they feel comfortable and secure.”

“Almost a quarter of our residents choose to live in a council home so what better way is there of recognising the contribution council housing makes in our city than by celebrating the centenary of the Addison Act, without which it may never have existed.”

The regional director of Tolent, Chris Price, said, “Having delivered over £803 million of social housing projects, it’s fitting that we can be a part of this celebration.”

“The needs and demands for more affordable housing have changed dramatically over the past 100 years. We’re delighted to be working with Newcastle City Council and their stakeholders to continue delivering much needed, high-quality homes for now and future generations.”

Mark Massey, senior partner architect at IDPartnership, said, “It is particularly important in this time of social atomisation to be considering how best we can provide homes for the many not for the few.”

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If you’ve got a story you’d like to share about council housing, you can email or

(This article’s main image is a photo from 1971 showing council flats in Kenton.)

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