The origins of Notting Hill Housing
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
By Richard Coward, the son of John Coward, the first employee of Notting Hill Housing Trust and its chief executive from 1965 until his retirement in 1986.
My father played a prominent role in establishing the housing association movement as we know it today and is widely regarded as the pioneer of shared ownership.
My son Oliver, John Coward's grandson, was asked last year to produce a documentary about the history of the organisation for Notting Hill Housing's 50th Anniversary celebrations.
The film shows how a group of passionate social reformers set about tackling the appalling housing conditions found in Notting Hill in the mid-1960s.
Their vision led to the formation of Notting Hill Housing, an organisation which for the past 50 years has worked to provide decent and affordable homes for people in the area and beyond.
Sadly, my father died shortly before Christmas during the post-production stages of the film so was never able to watch it himself, but Oliver and I hope that it can be circulated as widely as possible amongst those with an interest in the origins and early years of the social housing movement.
Some people may have been active at the time and perhaps have personally known Bruce Kenrick, who founded Notting Hill Housing Trust before moving on to set up the housing charity Shelter, or indeed my father.
A younger generation may simply be interested in learning more about the historical context which gave rise to the movement today.
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