Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes

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Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes
Founded1841 Edit this on Wikidata
FounderThomas Southwood Smith, Lord Howard, Viscount Ebrington, Lord Haddo, Sir Ralph Howard
SuccessorMetropolitan Property Association
ProductsModel dwellings

In London, the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes (MAIDIC) was a Victorian-era, philanthropically-motivated model dwellings company. The association, established in 1841, was fore-runner of the modern housing association which sought to provide affordable housing for the working classes on a privately run basis, with a financial return for investors. Although not the first society to build such homes, the Association was the first to be founded expressly for this purpose.[1] As such it was one of the earliest adopters of the principal of the five per cent philanthropy model, outlined in the Company's resolution: "that an association be formed for the purpose of providing the labouring man with an increase of the comforts and conveniences of life, with full return to the capitalist."[1]


The association was formed in 1841 by a group including Thomas Southwood Smith, George Howard, 7th Earl of Carlisle, Viscount Ebrington, Lord Haddo, Sir Ralph Howard[2][3] and Thomas Field Gibson and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1845.[4] Its first project was the Metropolitan Buildings in Old Pancras Road, Kings Cross, which consisted of 21 two-room and 90 three-room flats in five-storey blocks. It was demonstrated as an archetype of model dwellings and was visited by the Prince Consort in 1848, as well as William Gladstone, Charles Kingsley, Lord Shaftesbury, Charles Dickens and the Duke of Wellington.[5] The principal architect on many of these dwellings was Henry Roberts who pioneered many types of model dwelling, working also with the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes.

By 1900, the MAIDIC was one of the largest model dwellings companies operating in London, housing over 6,000 individuals.[6] Its activities declined as other model dwellings companies and the Greater London Council grew, which offered lower rents to a wider range of candidates.

The MAIDIC later became the Metropolitan Property Association.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tarn, J. N. (1973) Five Per Cent Philanthropy. London: CUP
  2. ^ Sheppard, F.H.W. (1957) Mile End New Town, Survey of London: volume 27: Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, pp. 265-288. Date accessed: 1 April 2011
  3. ^ "GIBSON GARDENS". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  4. ^ "AIM25 collection description". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  5. ^ "The Camden Theatre, Camden High Street and Crowndale Road, Camden Town". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  6. ^ Wohl, A. S. (1977) The eternal slum: housing and social policy in Victorian London. London: Edward Arnold, p.146
  7. ^ "1851 Great Exhibition: Official Catalogue: Class VII.: Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classess". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Duke Street Area: Artisans' Dwellings in the Duke Street Area - British History Online". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  9. ^ Reffell, John. "Reffell Family History - Places". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Albert Cottages, Spitalfields & Banglatown, London". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  11. ^ "History - Alexandra Cottages". Retrieved 21 May 2018.