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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/2983
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1894-2000
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 15.16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Sutton Dwellings Trust x Sutton Housing Trust
William Sutton Housing Association Limited


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Sutton Dwellings Trust was founded under the will of William Richard Sutton, dated 15 August 1894. Sutton ran a carrier business from Golden Lane, Finsbury and built up a huge personal fortune through wise investments and business expansion. When he died in 1900, he left 1,500,000 for the provision of model low-rented dwellings for occupation by the poor of London and other towns and populous places.

Owing to legal difficulties over the interpretation of Sutton's will and the administration of his estate, the first dwellings in Bethnal Green (at Sceptre Road and Coventry Road) were not built until 1909. Later London schemes were at City Road and Old Street (1911); Chelsea (Cale Street and Elyston Street, 1913); Rotherhithe (Plough Way and Chilton Grove, 1916); Islington (Upper Street, 1926) and St Quintin Park, North Kensington (1930).

In the 1920's and 1930's the trust extended its operations to other big cities such as Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield, Birmingham, Hull, Plymouth, Bristol and Stoke on Trent. The original scheme was changed in 1927. The trust always included a London County Council or Greater London Council member on its board. The trust undertook a further change in 1975 when it registered with the Housing Corporation and from the 1970's onwards has developed many new properties in different towns and cities to those listed above. It is a registered charity and has its headquarters at Sutton Court, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 5BB.

On 1 April 2004 William Sutton Trust transferred its homes to William Sutton Housing Association Limited (WSHA), a charitable Industrial and Provident Society. The group was formed in January 2004, with William Sutton as the parent and Tor Homes, Ridgehill Housing Association and Aashyana Housing Association as subsidiaries. The new group with nearly 24,000 homes became one of the largest Housing Associations in England with a turnover of 75 million and 900 employees.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Sutton Housing Trust, consisting of a fine series of minutes and accounts. In particular there are detailed registers of tenants (including information on income and employment), hundreds of photographs of estates and developments and correspondence giving advice from people such as Octavia Hill and Charles Booth.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Trust schemes and legal papers ACC/2983/001-019;
Trust minutes ACC/2983/020-054;
Annual reports and accounts ACC/2983/055-059;
Trust accounts ACC/2983/060-174;
Estate accounts ACC/2983/175-231;
Plans ACC/2983/232-233;
Staff ACC/2983/234;
Printed material ACC/2983/235-248;
Photographs: London estates ACC/2983/249-254;
Photographs: provincial estates ACC/2983/255-293;
Photographs: individuals ACC/2983/294-303.

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to closure periods.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in October 1991, with further accessions in 1998 and 2000.

Allied Materials

Related material:

This collection complements the official LCC, MCC and GLC records on housing in the LMA and the records of other bodies such as the Hornsey Housing Trust (ACC/1523), the Great Western (London) Housing Association Ltd (ACC/2863), the London Labour Party (ACC/2417) and the Peabody Trust (ACC/3445). In addition there is a specific file on the Sutton Dwellings Trust Estates in London prior to 1951 (LCC/AR/TP/2/121) and the library has some annual reports and accounts 1965-1983 (28.81 SUT).

Publication note:

For further details of the history of the Sutton Housing Trust see Harold Butcher and Ian Butcher, The Sutton Housing Trust, its foundation and history, 1982 (ACC/2983/239). A centenary booklet is available in the LMA library: P.L. Garside and Susannah Morris, Building a Legacy: William Sutton and his Housing Trust, 1894-1994, ref. 28.81 (SUT).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June to August 2010.

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