Women's PioneerHeritage project – trial

Heritage project – trial

In October 2020 Women’s Pioneer Housing (WPH) will celebrate one hundred years of providing homes for women in London.  To mark this milestone, WPH has set up a project funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund to study its history using original documents, websites and library resources to explore the links between housing, feminism and the efforts for women to gain independence after winning the vote.  The project’s first major achievement has been the film Pioneering Courage: The Women’s Pioneer Housing Story.

who used to live here

In 1920 with the wake of WW1 and the suffrage movement, our founders raised cash to buy large houses and convert them to low rent homes

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WPH flats

Nearly 100 years later we continue this work, with 1000 homes for women in west London and a programme for continued growth.

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How we were financed and run

Women’s Pioneer is a not for profit housing association dedicated to housing single women.

The first property was purchased in Holland Park Avenue in 1921.

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Women who lived in WPH flats

Women who lived in WPH flats
Someone lived here Someone lived here 3 Someone lived here 2

Someone lived here

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.

Someone lived here 3

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.

Someone lived here 2

Etheldred Browning formed a plan to buy houses with donations from wealthy benefactors to provide for newly-independent women.

Etheldred Browning etc

April 10, 1920

Etheldred Browning etc

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.

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Women’s Pioneer Housing is founded

June 8, 1922

Women’s Pioneer Housing is founded

In 1920 with the wake of WW1 and the suffrage movement, our founders raised cash to buy large houses and convert them to low rent homes.

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The first woman to qualify as a chartered accountant

July 16, 1935

The first woman to qualify as a chartered accountant

We now own 55 properties. Gertrude Leverkus, one of the very first professional woman architects in the UK, becomes our in-house architect. The first woman to qualify as a chartered accountant by exam,

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Second World War

July 16, 1945

Second World War

By 1939 we have sufficient financial independence to buy properties with our own resources. But then waves of evacuation and Blitz bombing leave us with unpaid rent,

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New investors

July 16, 1978

New investors

Manager Nona Grosstephan has fought off a rogue investors’ asset stripping bid in 1972. In 1974 housing associations became eligible for public money to build new homes or refurbish older ones.  

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Denise Fowler
CEO
Denise FowlerDenise FowlerDenise Fowler
Laura Laura Dodsworth
Content Developer
Laura Dodsworth
Lottie Whalen
Content Developer
Lottie WhalenLottie Whalen

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