Arlington House (London)

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Arlington House, Camden

Arlington House is a hostel for homeless men in Camden Town, London which opened in 1905. It is the last and largest of the Rowton Houses to be built and is the only one to remain in use as a hostel.

George Orwell lived in one of the Rowton Houses and wrote about the experience in Down and Out in Paris and London, his semi-autobiographical account of living in poverty in both cities. Brendan Behan lived in Arlington House.[1]

Arlington House was taken over by Camden London Borough Council in the 1980s, but was subsequently privatised and later given without payment to One Housing Group (OHG) by the Novas Scarman group to ensure that building works were completed. As of 2010 the building was owned and managed by One Housing Group, undergoing major government-funded refurbishment, and due to reopen in 2010.[2] There has been much criticism around this matter; see "What the press says", below.

One Housing Group issued a press release on 16 December 2009 in which they say that they would work with social enterprise partners City Dining, SPACE and Broadway. According to the press release City Dining is proposing to provide catering for residents and staff at Arlington and training for a group of customers, with the aim of offering them permanent positions. SPACE is proposing to run an art studio and creative space for residents, and eventually to develop opportunities for creative and media training. Broadway are in discussions to deliver an employment and training service for residents, and setting up a Business Centre providing training, conference and business support facilities.[3]

In a 4 March 2010 press release OHG said that the refurbished Arlington House would be a modern building with 95 high-quality units for homeless people, 35 sub-market-rent flats, and 3,000 m2 of "social economy and training" space. The building is to reopen in 2011 [dated info] after refurbishment with government investment.[4]

Arlington House was opened after completion of major rebuilding by Mayor of London Boris Johnson on 10 June 2010. It is said to "feature hostel accommodation along with business units, artist studios, conference facilities and accommodation for low-rent housing for workers", [5] It has since been visited by several well-known people, including Tracey Emin, Iain Duncan Smith, Nick Clegg, and Prince Charles.[6][7]

The Aisling Project is involved with the Irish Tenants Association of Arlington House, who constituted about a third of the residents before refurbishment. These tenants were generally older than the others, and had lived in the hostel for longer.

"Arlington House - address, no fixed abode" is the first line of the 1984 top 20 song "One Better Day" by Camden pop group Madness. The song is about homeless people.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

"Men of Arlington" http://www.menofarlington.com/ is a documentary directed by Enda Hughes that portrays the tragedies and triumphs of the emigrant Irish in London.

What the press says[edit]

Coordinates: 51°32′24″N 0°08′41″W / 51.5400°N 0.1446°W / 51.5400; -0.1446