Many women have lost their partners in the war and have to work to support themselves but no landlord will let a room to a working woman. Meanwhile the shortage of domestic servants has hit the value of large houses designed to function on the back of cheap labour and, in once wealthy central London, hundreds of large houses lie empty. Etheldred Browning formed a plan to buy houses with donations from wealthy benefactors to provide for newly-independent women.
Miss Browning called on me…with a capital of one or two pounds she had taken one house and filled it with tenants. …I promised her I would send her a list of people who would be interested and who had money
– Suffragette and Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) organiser Geraldine Lennox
Women’s Pioneer Housing is registered as a public utility company on 4 October 1920 ‘to cater for the housing requirements of professional and other women of moderate means who require individual homes at moderate rents’.