CHAPTER 14 RE-HOUSING AND REMOVALS

One of the major problems created by damage to local property was that of re-housing persons rendered homeless. Their accommodation at Rest Centres was of course only a temporary expedient until such time as their homes could be repaired or, if this could not be done, until such time as they could be re-housed. The principle behind the Government's re-housing policy was that accommodation considered adequate for the requirements of the homeless family should be provided having regard to the size of such family and that, where practicable, their outgoings for rent and rates should not be increased by reason of being bombed. Where it was possible to offer more or better accommodation, and circumstances justified such a course, a charge equivalent to the economic rent should be made. In Chapter 10 of Part 1 of this record, figures are given regarding damage which show that over 1,200 houses were destroyed and many hundreds remained uninhabitable for greater or less periods. So many houses in the Borough contained two or more families that the problem proved even greater than appears in the light of the above figures. Particularly was this so in the latter part of the war when persons who had been bombed out earlier were then living with friends or relations and both families were rendered homeless by a Fly Bomb or Rocket. The Housing Manager as Re-housing Officer was responsible for finding accommodation for homeless persons, and the numbers dealt with by May, 1945, show how serious was the position:
  Families Persons
Re-housed by Council    
1) In Walthamstow 1100 4413
2) Outside the Borough 24 103
Billeted bv Council in Walthamstow 1362 5418
Evacuated by Council 117 428
Totals 2603 10362

It should be noted that the foregoing figures do not include the evacuation of adults or children dealt with under the ordinary evacuation scheme but relate only to bombed-out persons. Nor do they include those persons whom we assisted to find accommodation for themselves either through local landlords or in other Boroughs. In addition to Re-housing, the Re-housing Officer dealt with removals of furniture. This also was a considerable task for, in many cases it involved removal to store and then, later, to the new accommodation - a double removal in fact.

The obtaining of transport and loaders from Contractors and organising the use of Heavy and Light Rescue personnel was no light task in itself but, in some ways even worse, there was also the difficulty of finding storage accommodation when hall after hall was damaged as the area of devastation became greater. It was one of the minor miracles of the war that we did manage to keep our furniture stored in Walthamstow and did not have a direct hit on any one of the stores although some stores were damaged and the furniture had to be re-accommodated.

In all, some 1391 loads of furniture were stored in various halls to spread the risks of further damage, but the number of removals effected (including removals from house to house and from store to house) totalled nearly 6,000. In addition another generally unrecognised responsibility was the collection of coal and coke from bombed premises in connection with which the Council's Supplies Officer salvaged over 340 tons of useful fuel from March, 1941, to May, 1945.

Part I - General

Part IIa - The Services

Part IIb - The Services

Part III - The Story of the Raids

Part IV - Flying Bombs & Rockets

Part V - To the Unknown Citizen