This housing society was set up in 1925 by Claude Ashby, a local businessman and youth worker, Fred Woolley, an accountant and civic leader and architect Herbert Collins, with the purpose of providing good quality, low rent housing. Its first houses were built in Pilgrim’s Place off Mansbridge Road in 1925. Capon Close and Howard Close and shops at Westfield Corner were built in the following years. Development then continued along Wide Lane to Walnut Avenue, which was built in the early 1930s. The society employed its own workforce rather than use outside contractors, so costs were kept low. In the 1930s the society built Bassett Green estate and developed housing south of Mansbridge Road on land that had been previously part of Grange Farm. Southcliff House, Southcliff Road was built in 1930 providing flats for single women and for many years the society’s women rent collectors lived here. In 1933 the Utility Flats on Canute Road were built. After World War Two further flats and houses were built in, amongst other places, Octavia Road.

Further reading:
Herbert Collins 1885-1975: Architect and Worker for Peace, by Robert Williams, p25-33. (HS/i)


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