Thornhill Houses Tenants and Residents Association

The building was constructed in 1902 for the East End Dwellings Company* at a cost of some £25,000.

* The East End Dwellings Company was founded in 1884* by the clergyman and social reformer Rev. Samuel Barnett, vicar of St. Jude’s, Whitechapel, and a group of parish workers, following a meeting he had held in 1882 to discuss the provision of housing for the poor. Its aim was to provide housing for those too (the very) poor to qualify for Peabody Trust or similar projects, their particular purpose being to erect blocks of dwellings, to be let by the room, so that the poorest class of labourers could be accommodated.

The company's first social housing project, Katharine Buildings, opened in late 1884 in the East End itself*.

The architects were Davis & Emmanuel (Emanuel)* of 2 Finsbury Circus (Finsbury Pavement).

*Davis & Emmanuel were responsible for the company's most ambitious scheme, Ravenscroft, completed in 1897 under a 99-year lease from Barnet Chancel charity for most of its 2 acre estate, where 194 tenements were constructed in a five-storeyed red-brick building in an Italianate style; a more ornamental roof-line with octagonal towers and cupolas relieved a continuous frontage to Ravenscroft Street, Columbia Road, and Hassard Street

It was a classic example of so-called ‘five per-cent philanthropy’, or philanthropy which made a return on its investment. Full occupancy gross annual return on Thornhill Houses being  somewhat more than this*. Furthermore the actual value of the building has increased by about 5.6% per year, excluding inflation.

The East End Dwellings Company,
is also known as EEDC / Charlwood Properties Ltd / Charlwood Alliance Properties Ltd.  It has been absorbed into a number of companies and is now part of Istithmar P&O Estates, itself part of Istithmar World, a Dubai based investment company.

5 Feb 1884
4 Carlton Gardens, Pall Mall, London SWlY 5AR

History: incorporated in 1884 as East End Dwellings CO Ltd to provide dwellings and tenements in east, south and central London for the industrial and labouring classes. Between 1885 and 1936 erected property in Stepney Green, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, St Pancras, Kings Cross, Islington, and Camberwell Green. By 1900 residents numbered 6079, rising to 7207 in 1910, 7227 in 1920 and then falling to 6553 in 1930. Company owned 2207 tenements, 60 shops and workshops and 4555 rooms in 1920, rising to 2273 tenements, 77 shops and 4899 rooms in 1940. Acquired Lambeth Estate CO Ltd (inc 18
79) in 1960 and Tenement Dwellings CO Ltd (inc 1887) in 1964. Name changed to Charlwood Properties Ltd in 1955. Merged in 1960 with Alliance Economic Investment CO Ltd (inc 1871) to form the above which was acquired by Town & City Properties Ltd in 1974. Town & City Properties Ltd was rescued from its financial difficulties in the 1970s by the Sterling Guarantee Trust, and merged with the P&O Group in 1985.

The company's first social housing project, Katharine Buildings, opened in late 1884 in the East End itself*.

*Rosemary O’Day, ‘Caring or Controlling? The East End of London in the 1880s and 1890s’, in Clive Emsley, Eric Johnson, and Pieter Spierenburg ed, Social Control in Europe, 1800–2000, 2004.

*JE Connor and BJ Critchley, The Red Cliffs of Stepney, A History of the Buildings Erected by the East End Dwellings Company Ltd 1885 - 1949.

Many original properties have long ceased to be owned by the group, including Thornhill Houses, which is now owned by LBI.

Notes from 1901 Dove Bros. (builders), observing various estimates for building Thornhill Houses.
Notes from 1902 EEDC minutes, setting rents.

1902 Rent

The building underwent renovations in the late 1970's / early 1980's. The original 84 dwellings becoming 77, plus 5 storerooms and a Community Room. The costs of these works being about £8,500 per dwelling.

As of February 2011, 36 of the original 77 council tenants have exercised their right to buy. I.e. c. 45% LH and 55% CT.

It also used to be home of the famous Barnsbury Beech tree. Now deceased. See Pictures.

For our limited information on HFI follow this link.

For more comprehensive information for TH leaseholders only, follow this link (secure login required).

This website is provided primarily for the collation and dissemination of information for Tenants and Residents. All work is done by volunteers, do not expect miracles.

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