For a walk through Housing for Women’s history, view our slideshow!
Housing for Women’s roots go back to the suffragette movement. One of our earliest properties was gifted to us by the family of the suffragette sympathiser, Georgina Brackenbury, whose portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. This house was used as a ‘safe house’ for the suffragettes when they were fighting for votes for women and is now home to some of our tenants. The organisation started as a ‘job centre’, providing a resource for the increasing number of women in the Depression in the 1930s who were having to support themselves.
Helping women help themselves has always been important to us and we remain committed to helping women into work, through our training grants and employment projects. The organisation expanded in the early years to providing accommodation as well as recruitment services. We then became a registered charity and a registered housing association, acquiring and building accommodation not only for single working women but women with families.
Combatting violence against women remains a strong focus of our work and over the years we have developed this provision through the establishment of refuges and support services for particular groups of women. Although there are different challenges to face today, the core of our work and our values remain the same: to provide homes and support for London’s women with the greatest need.
A more detailed history of the early history of the Association can be found in the book ‘A Place of Her Own‘, published in 1983, which can be read here.