It’s the 100th Anniversary of the building of the first Council House. We asked Westminster Council’s oldest living tenant, Mrs Liz Windsor, what it’s been like living and raising a family in publicly rented accommodation.
“It’s been brilliant, we were so lucky to be first on the housing ladder. Finding affordable, family accommodation in the centre of London was very difficult.”
Under the original blue-print Council Houses were to be spacious, light, airy and a pleasure to live in. Some critics think that Westminster Council went too far with their initial design. Certainly, later houses were much smaller.
“When we moved here, it was just green fields. You could open the back door and let the kids play outside all day. They used to spend all summer over in the park with their polo ponies. Couldn’t do that nowadays, you’ve no idea who might be out there.”
“In a house this big the children loved tearing up and down the corridors, family games of hide and seek were great fun. Although, we were worried when Charles got himself caught in the Priest’s Hole, took us ages to find him and get him out.”
“The nice thing about renting was that we didn’t have to pay the maintenance bill. Could you imagine the cost of upkeep on something this big when the only money coming in was Phil’s earnings as a Cabbie? Without the Council’s help we would have been in schtuck!”
It seems that for one family, at least, that Council Houses have been a good thing.