Women of influence

In my last blog I spoke of the preparations were are making to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Railway Housing Association in 2019 and how we were uncovering old documents and newspaper cuttings as part of our research.

Through this research we are learning new things about our history.

I was therefore delighted this week of another housing association which is making its own centenary preparations, for 2020, and how it is also uncovering exciting new information.

In the case of Women’s Pioneer Housing in London it is the discovery of a safe containing documents that is revealing an hitherto almost unknown, slice of history.

The papers are revealing that the organisation was set up by suffrage campaigners in the aftermath of World War I and the Representation of the People Act 1918 – which gave women aged over 30 who owned property the vote.

It’s amazing, and satisfying, is to think – especially when women’s issues are in the spotlight like never before – that the actions of women 100 years ago have helped provide housing for future generations.

Railway Housing Association was also set up in the aftermath of the war to help address the shortage of housing and I am proud to say that it was a woman who was the catalyst for what we have achieved over the last almost 100 years.

It was thanks to a gift of £10,000 (that’s almost half a million in today’s money) from Lady Ellen Granger that enabled our first homes to be built.

So, there is a long history of women leading by example and long may it continue.