We are celebrating 100 years of social housing in Oswestry by returning a century old, commemorative ‘silver gift key’ which was given to the Mayor of Oswestry in 1921 to commemorate Oswestry’s first council house to current Mayor, Councillor John Price.

The key like some the houses on the Woodside Road has stood the test of time and is now 98 years old. As the Addison Act centenary approaches on July 31st we have decided to return the key to the Oswestry Mayor’s office to celebrate 100 years of social housing and the first Oswestry Council House.

The key itself is inscribed with the words ‘Presented to J.H.Hill esq. Mayor of Oswestry, March 10th 1921.To commemorate the opening of the first house erected under the boroughs housing scheme.’ It is not known how the key came to be in STAR Housing’s possession and it was found by chance by a member of staff.

Our Managing Director Sue Adams commented “It is with great pride that Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing return this historical housing artefact to the Mayor for safe keeping at the Museum during this the centenary year of the Addison Act which led to the development of Council housing at Woodside. It is testament to the quality of the housing built following the Act that this estate is still one of the most popular areas in Oswestry to live.” 

The local councillor and mayor had this to say “It is my pleasure to accept this piece of Oswestry history on behalf of the people of Oswestry and place it in the town museum where it will be a reminder of the first council houses built nearly a century ago and I thank STAR Housing for returning this fantastic artefact as they celebrate the centenary of the Addison Act”

The key was placed in Oswestry museum on Friday 5th July 2019 by The Mayor and our Managing Director Sue Adams.

Background - 

In 1919 the Housing, Town Planning act (later known as the Addison Act) was passed after being introduced by Dr Christopher Addison, the minister of health at the time. This Act ‘placed a duty on local authorities to consider the needs of their area with respect to the provision of houses for the working classes’ which is the first piece of legislation to effectively tell its local government to provide subsidised housing for the working classes. In the two years after The Addison Act 213,000 properties were built including the Municipal housing scheme in Oswestry otherwise known as Woodside, as it is still known today.

Quotes and information gathered in the Border Counties Advertiser from March 16th 1921, on March 10th 1921 in front of a ‘large gathering of townspeople’ Mayor John Herbert Hill was given ‘a silver gift key’ to mark the day that Oswestry handed over its first council subsidised houses as a direct result of the Addison Act 1919.

 The official centenary is July 31st 2019 and ‘in the 100 years since the Addison Act, councils have built more than five million properties, helping millions of families find a secure place they can call home’ 

In photo – Tenant Representative John Thompson, Town Mayor John Price and STAR Housing Managing Director Sue Adams.

Follow news of the Addison Act centenary celebrations on twitter using the #100yearsofcouncilhousing or #AddisonAct

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