Rowton Houses

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The Rowton House in Highgate, Birmingham, now a hotel

Rowton Houses was a chain of hostels built in London, England, by the Victorian philanthropist Lord Rowton to provide decent accommodation for working men in place of the squalid lodging houses of the time.

George Orwell, in Down & Out In Paris and London, wrote about lodging houses: "The best are the Rowton Houses, where the charge is a shilling, for which you get a cubicle to yourself, and the use of excellent bathrooms. You can also pay half a crown for a special, which is practically hotel accommodation. The Rowton Houses are splendid buildings, and the only objection to them is the strict discipline, with rules against cooking, card playing, etc."[1]

The Rowton Houses throughout London were:

The architect for the bulk of the houses was Harry Bell Measures FRIBA, who also designed the tube stations for the Central London Railway in 1900 and was well known as the designer of many army barracks.

There was also a Rowton House in Highgate, Birmingham, which opened on 29 June 1903. It was built by the Birmingham Rowton Houses Ltd, from the designs and under the supervision of Measures. This building later became a hotel, the Paragon.[4]


  1. ^ Down and Out in Paris and London - Chapter 37 - Book by George Orwell - Charles' George Orwell Links
  2. ^ Mark Gould, Jo Revill (24 October 2004). "Luxury beckons for East End's house of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  3. ^ About Arlington House
  4. ^ The Paragon Hotel website Much of the descriptive text of this reference appears to originate from this article; however, it additionally confirms "The Paragon when built was called Rowton House", and displays an original photograph and advertisement "What 6d a day provides", with details of facilities.

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