This page is about sharing a bit more about what we have and also directing you to other great resources if you are interested in the history of homelessness and housing.
MoH is a small organisation, run almost entirely by volunteers. Although we hold a range of records, objects and art in trust we are still young and don’t have out own space.
Since we don’t have a space and large online database yet, we hope this section will give you more info about what to do if you wish to see more or even give us something.
Our Collection and Archive
The archive is a paper-based collection covering a period of history in the mid-twentieth century when the term ‘homelessness’ is increasingly being discussed, not just as an aspect of poverty but as a more complicated societal phenomenon. This development marks an important shift from pre-war attitudes towards poverty.This history is tied to wider changes relating to the history of welfare, political economy, demographic and built environment and social attitudes.
The bulk of the archive is the records of the Simon Community. The Simon Community is a London based charity that was founded by Anton Wallich-Clifford in 1963. The impact of the Simon Community on the recent history of homelessness is immense. Simon began its life connected to a growing ‘movement of care’ that included a range of other groups and individual campaigners. Many of today’s homelessness providers, including some major charities came from Simon. The archive has also been added to by gifts from individuals of other records and this includes reports, publications, writings and photography that reflect their lives in the field.
Our collection is a group of twenty objects given to MoH for it’s State of the Nation campaign in 2017. These items were offered to MoH between December 2016 and March 2017 by a range of people and include, for example, a winter shelter bed, a naloxone kit and an ASBO (anti social behaviour order). You can find out more about this collection here.
Links and other resources
There are some great resources out there for those interested in other histories and homelessness now. Please send us other recommendations if you have them.
Workhouse history: Peter Higginbotham has spent decades researching, documenting and sharing the story of the workhouse in Britain.
History of Social Housing: John Boughton’s Muncipal Dreams (now a book) is a comprehensive survey of the rise and fall of social housing in the UK from the slums of 19th century Liverpool to Grenfell. The Social History Sound Archive and social housing history resources are good too. There are some great local projects like Southwark Notes and Cardboard Citizens also created a fantastic legacy resource too from their 2017 Home Truths Project.
Poverty and Vagrancy: The London Lives resource is vital for anyone looking at the social history of poverty from the late 1600’s through to the 1800’s. Peter Jones’s Stray Voices is a great source of opinion and contains some rich and varied articles. The Connected Histories platform is also great for researchers. Finally, anyone interested in poverty in the 1800s will find Booth’s digitised poverty maps at the LSE a must see.
Squatting and resistance: The ASS is a great source for squatting history and present day news. Check out the brilliant Frestonia archive project here for a history of that famous north-west London squat of the late 1970s. Alex Vasudevan also published a book on the international history of squatting that includes a chapter on the UK. There are also resources that ICA created from their show with Mark ‘Smiler’ Cawson who documented squats in the 1980s For anyone interested in going back further into history you can find info on the history of the Diggers here.
Giving us Stuff and finding out more
For anyone interested in donating records or finding out more about the collection and archive, do get in touch and we can send you further details about how we collect stuff and what we have specifically.