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My Norwich

Look back over a century of Norwich council homes

A large demand for housing throughout Britain led to the 1919 Housing Act, promising government subsidies to help finance the construction of homes across the country.

As we celebrate a century of Norwich council homes, we look back over the city's proud legacy.

Social housing timeline

You can also download the timeline here.

The Housing Act, known as the Addison Act, is published, promising 'Homes for Heroes'.

The first council home is built on Angel Road in October.

Mile Cross is born; the first major housing estate built by the council.

The land for this estate originally cost £36,000. At the end of World War One there was a need to provide a better type of housing for people and an improvement on the overcrowded and inadequate living conditions that existed. Homes built at this time included ‘the concrete blocks’, ‘temporary wooden’ and ‘prefab homes’.

Mile Cross in the 1920s

Mile Cross in the 1920s

The Housing Act obliges councils to clear all remaining slums. By 1938, the council had demolished 2,280 homes and built 2346 to replace them.

Some of the city’s first flats are built on Union Street.

Union Street flats

Union Street flats

At the same time that City Hall was opened, the Larkman estate was developed to the west of Norwich. Nowadays, the community radio station, Future Radio, which is primarily funded by the NELM Development Trust (North Earlham, Larkman and Marlpit) is based here.

To meet the urgent post-war need for replacement housing, 350 prefabricated houses, designed to last ten years, are built in areas such as Ketts Hill and Tuckswood.

The City of Norwich Plan was formed, proposing future housing for the city. Many of the estates around this time were influenced by Ebenezer Howard and The Garden City Movement at the end of the 19th century; this is why many properties built at this time have large gardens.

West Earlham estate built.

When post-war restrictions on building had ended, Norwich began construction on the Heartsease estate.  

Norwich won the ‘Good Design in Housing’ award from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, for the building of Alderson Place in Finkelgate.

Eleven-storey Compass Tower, Heartsease is built.

In 1965 the three towers in both Mile Cross and Heartsease were constructed, along with Normandie Tower and Winchester Tower in the city.

From the mid 1970s Norwich City Council introduced the policy that buildings must not be built above four stories high under the guidance of Baroness Hollis of Heigham.

This is the reason Norwich has kept a relatively low skyline and, unlike many cities, only has a few high rise flats.

Construction on Normandie and Winchester Towers begins.

Normandie Tower 1966

Normandie Tower

Heathgate is built.

Norwich has the highest proportion of council housing of any city in the country.

Bowthorpe is the last of the purpose built estates built by Norwich City Council. It was originally designed to be three modern villages and encourage a sense of community. Incorporating a mixture of private, social and sheltered housing, work began in 1974 on Clover Hill and Chapel Break followed in 1982. The last homes built by Norwich City Council were Tippett Close and The Runnell in 1990.

The last surviving prefab homes were removed from the city.

The Right to Buy scheme is introduced by central government, giving council tenants the right to purchase their home at a discounted price.  In the first two years of the scheme, 1,000 Norwich tenants bought their homes.

Sheltered housing at Alnwick Court, Silver Birch Court and Alfred Nicholls Court are built, as well as homes on Armes Street, Adelaide Street and Brewers Court.

Alfred Nichols Court

Alfred Nicholls Court

The council’s role as landlord changes from ‘building’ homes to ‘enabling’, working in partnership with housing associations and registered social landlords.

Sheltered housing at Fellowes Close (1992) and Singer Court (1992) are built.

Decent Homes Standard is introduced by central government.

Norwich Standard is introduced to go above and beyond Decent Homes criteria.

Riley Close is built.

Hansard Close is built

Goldsmith Street is built

Goldsmith Street
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