Homes for Heroes

The First World War had brought to the forefront the poor physical health of many of the serving soldiers, which was largely attributed to deprived living conditions. Then prime minister, David Lloyd George, made a promise to the returning troops that they would be provided with ‘homes fit for heroes’.

This promise was solidified with the passing of the Housing and Planning Act 1919 and later the Chamberlain Housing Act 1923 and the Wheatley Housing Act 1924, all of which ensured that local councils would improve the quality and quantity of their social housing stock.

Like other cities around the country, the housing in parts of Norwich was overcrowded and squalid. The proposed new houses were to replace the centre’s 18th century yard houses that had narrow communal cul-de-sacs and badly lit primitive facilities.

The founding of R G Carter as a limited construction company in 1921 coincided with the need for skilled workers to build the new housing schemes in Norwich.

One of the first contracts that the Firm received from Norwich City Corporation, now Norwich City Council, was for the construction of the nucleus of the Mile Cross estate.

This new estate was to provide the economically deprived community in Norwich with good quality housing that was located outside of the overpopulated city centre. It is notable that Mile Cross was one of the first schemes in the country to provide social housing with private gardens.

The Firm built approximately 300 new homes on the estate, as well as a further 300 at the Earlham estate, also in Norwich.