Old Hackney Gazette cuttings shine light on housing crisis after First World War
PUBLISHED: 08:59 05 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:01 06 July 2017
Old Gazette cuttings discovered in a dusty old book in west London have shone a light on the chronic housing problem for injured veterans after the First World War.
The pages of articles were discovered in the archives of Stoll – a charity that has offered housing and support to members of the armed forces since 1916.
The articles, from 1916 and 1921, focus on the Hackney Disabled Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Federation and the work it was doing to build homes for disabled soldiers in the area.
And more than one of them reference a meeting in Stoke Newington regarding the issue of housing for veterans that ended “in uproar”.
Others document the unveiling of the Hackney War Memorial in October of 1921. But the war memorial is not the plinth outside the town hall. No, the official war memorial is in fact the very building used to house the soldiers in Wattisfield Road, Lower Clapton.
The Gazette tracked down the trustee of the Hackney Disabled Soldiers and Sailors’ Federation, who told us the charity was amalgamated with Hague Homes just 12 months ago – because they couldn’t find any veterans who wanted to be housed in Hackney.
Leonard Oatham said: “Despite the housing crisis we couldn’t find any takers. We ended up renting the houses out commercially.
“Disabled veterans can get about quite independently now with the fake limbs. They don’t want to live in disabled flats with a bunch of old soldiers.
“Hague Homes can find people because they are a national organisation and they build the homes where the soldiers want to live.”
Ed Tytherleigh, chief executive of Fulham-based Stoll, said the archives highlighted the “incredible work” the people at Stoll and Hackney Disabled Soldiers and Sailors’ Federation had been doing for almost 100 years.
He said: “They show the tireless dedication of the staff over the decades to provide homes and support to the vulnerable veterans who have fought and served for this country.
“We hope the archives show the rich history behind the charity and encourage people to support veterans.”