Homes fit for heroes? James Cecil and the public interest

Historian article

By Hugh Gault, published 22nd May 2019

Hugh Gault reminds us that the provision of adequate and price-accessible housing stock has been a matter of public debate and concern for over a hundred years. Economics and financial priorities have continued to undermine the methodologies and good intentions needed to solve the problem.

This year is the hundredth anniversary of Lloyd George’s promise of ‘homes fit for heroes’ to a country and its soldiers who had fought in the Great War. This followed the 1917 Housing Advisory Panel chaired by James Cecil, and coincided with the establishment of the Ministry of Health which was set up to take a broader preventative view, addressing issues such as housing that had an impact on health. Yet social and affordable housing in both rural and urban areas remains inadequate today, with public bodies such as Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) recently describing rural communities as ‘being undermined by a lack of affordable housing’...

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