Electricity? Yes, or no?!
Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Local Government
Staff at Two Rivers sift through the archives
Historical documents dating back nearly a century have been uncovered at the offices of Two Rivers Housing showing tenants in the 1930s didn’t want electricity, homes came with a scullery and the average rent was six shillings a week.
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 found relate to the former Rural District Council of West Dean. They show that mains water supplies were introduced during the 30s and there’s a postcard dated 1938 asking a Coleford tenant if he would like electricity installed – to which he replied “no”!
There was a surprise for Two Rivers Housing’s Administration Apprentice, Lauren Hatton, who discovered amongst the documents found was a tenancy agreement for her Great-Great-Uncle.
The hand-drawn plans dated 1920 and 1930 show developments in Lydney which were rather different from the plans we produce today as the houses were 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, but it made it very heavy!
Denise Voyce, our Neighbourhood Lettings Co-ordinator, remembers filling in the book each week: “It’s very interesting to look through, but I don’t miss having to lug the heavy book around!” she said.
It is hoped that the historical documents will be put on display in ‘Rivers Meet’, the new home of Two Rivers Housing. The display would add another feature to the office which is widely-tipped to become the first BREEAM ‘Excellent’ new-build office in the county when assessments are complete.