Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890

The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 (53 & 54 Vict. c. 70) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.


The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1885 was a public health act, not a housing act. It empowered local authorities to condemn slum housing, but could not purchase the land and finance new housing. This act did that.

The ActEdit

The act is made up of four parts and seven schedules:

  • Part 1: Unhealthy Areas
  • Part 2: Unhealthy Dwellings
  • Part 3: Working Class Lodging Houses
  • Part 4: Supplemental
  • First Schedule: A list of the names of relevant authorities
  • Second Schedule: Provisions for compulsory purchase
  • Third Schedule: Provisions for closing premises
  • Fourth and Fifth Schedule: A collection of forms to be used in applying the act
  • Sixth Schedule: Lists required byelaws that authorities need to enact.[1]


This gave London County Council the legal power to compulsory buy land out of area and to construct tenements and housing estates. The powers under part 3 were extensive: allowing the Council to:

  • (a) lease land for the erection thereon of workmen's dwellings
  • (b) itself undertake the erection of dwellings or the improvement or reconstruction of existing dwellings
  • (c) fit up, furnish and maintain lodging working classes
  • (d) make any necessary by-laws and regulations for the management and use of the lodging houses
  • (e) sell dwellings or lodging houses established for seven years or upwards under Part III. of the Act whenever such dwellings or lodging houses are deemed by the Council and the Local Government Board to be unnecessary or too expensive to keep up.[2]

The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1894 amended the financial provisions of part 2 of the principal Act.[2]

The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1900 extended these powers to all authorities other than rural district councils.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ *Allan, Charles Edward (1890). The housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, annotated, with appendices containing the Incorporated Statutory Provisions, the Working Classes Dwellings Act, 1890, the Standing Orders of Parliament related to Provisional Orders, and the Circulars, Memoranda and Orders of the Local Government Board under the Act. London: Knight and Co.
  2. ^ a b c Housing of the working classes in London. Notes on the action taken between the years 1855 and 1912 for the better housing of the working classes in London, with special reference to the action taken by the London County Council between the years 1889 and 1912. London: Printed for the London County Council by Odhams Limited. 1913. Retrieved 18 October 2017.

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