On Monday 18th September, we celebrated Hundred Houses’ 90th anniversary with residents, shareholders, Board and Committee members, employees and local partner organisations.
One of Hundred Houses’ longest-standing residents, Mrs Betty Brightley, who also celebrated her 90th birthday this year, cut the celebratory cake. She was joined by other local residents, who have each lived in HHS homes for well over 50 years, as we joined together to reflect on the history and look forward to continuing to provide much needed affordable homes for the people of Greater Cambridge.
Founded in 1933 by Mrs Dorothy Stevenson, Hundred Houses was set up in response to the nationwide housing crisis which followed the First World War. Affordable, decent homes were in short supply and Mrs Stevenson and her colleagues were determined to take action to provide homes for lower-income families. 90 years on, Hundred Houses continues her mission to provide great homes and services that people value.
Matt Thomas, Chief Executive of Hundred Houses Society hosted the event alongside Sara Garnham, Chair of the Hundred Houses Board.
“September 2023 marks 90 years since Hundred Houses was founded by Mrs Stevenson, so we decided to use our Annual General Meeting to celebrate,” Matt Thomas explained. “We were delighted that more than 60 people came along, including local residents who have lived in homes provided by Hundred Houses for many years. We were particularly pleased that Mrs Brightley could join us as she has been a Hundred Houses tenant for almost 60 years and, like us, celebrated her 90th birthday this year.”
“During the event it was fantastic to hear people reflect on how Hundred Houses has played such an important role in their lives. Mrs Brightley commented: “My husband and I moved into our home 59 years ago when he got a job in Cambridge, and over the years we’ve been able to make improvements and create a home that I’d never want to leave. That was always the aim of Hundred Houses, to provide good quality, affordable homes for the Cambridge workforce. Hundred Houses are a good landlord. Mrs Stevenson knew what she was doing.”
One of the guests at the 90th anniversary celebrations was Dr Nik Johnson, the current Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, who spoke about the role social housing plays in local community life.
Dr Johnson said. “I wanted to be part of today’s celebration because I think what Hundred Houses Society does as an organisation exemplifies how public policy around housing delivers for the greater good. When the opportunity comes for the Combined Authority to take a strategic view about the development of housing, allowing our communities to grow in an affordable and sustainable manner and with respect to the environment, I really like to think that we’ll be doing that in partnership with Hundred Houses.”
Councillor Jenny Gawthrope Wood, the Mayor of Cambridge, and Councillor Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness at Cambridge City Council, also spoke about the vital role played by Hundred Houses Society.
Sara Garnham, Chair of the Hundred Houses Board, concluded the afternoon by saying:
“Housing associations are an important part of the fabric of this country, but lots of people don’t understand the role that they play and the opportunities they can give. We need lots of people talking about housing associations and how important they are to our society and to building communities. I’m very privileged to be involved with Hundred Houses and, whilst I know I won’t be standing here when we’re 100, I hope we continue to provide much needed affordable homes to the people of Great Cambridge for many years.”