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Century-old documents reveal plight of 1930s social housing tenants

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Century-old documents reveal plight of 1930s social housing tenants

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Two Rivers Housing Two Rivers Housing

Documents dating back nearly a century have been uncovered at the offices of a West Country-based housing association.

The documents reveal that some tenants in the 1930s didn’t want electricity in their homes - and that the average rent was six shillings a week.

Gloucestershire’s Two Rivers Housing has recently moved from a rented office in Mitcheldean to a purpose-built, energy-efficient office in Newent, and while packing for the move staff discovered a folder full of old tenancy agreements, letters, plans and drawings.

Most of the documents, which relate to the former Rural District Council of West Dean, show that mains water supplies were introduced during the 30s.

And a postcard found amongst the haul dated 1938 asks a Coleford tenant if he would like electricity installed – to which he replied “no”!

There was a surprise for Two Rivers administration apprentice Lauren Hatton who discovered a tenancy agreement for her Great-Great-Uncle.

The hand-drawn plans dated 1920 and 1930 show developments in Lydney for houses built with a scullery, larder, parlour and an area to the side of the house to store fuel.

All the houses and tenants are recorded in a large ledger which only stopped being used in 2005, when records were transferred onto computer.

Pages from the ledger book were added over the years using a special key, which made it very heavy.

Denise Voyce, neighbourhood lettings co-ordinator, remembers filling in the book each week. She said: “It’s very interesting to look through, but I don’t miss having to lug the heavy book around!”

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