We set out to improve the lives of poverty-stricken Londoners over 160 years ago. Today, the challenges may be different, but our vision is the same - to create homes and communities where everyone can flourish.

Scroll through our timeline to see how we've grown to  become an organisation with over 107,000 homes and 220,000 residents. We also have 20,000 care and support residents.

  • 1862 1868Spitalfields Early 20Th Century

    1862 - 1868

    A man on a mission

    George Peabody, an American banker and philanthropist, creates the Peabody Trust with a donation of £150,000. He later increases this to a total of £500,000. His five trustees agree to use the money to build affordable housing for people on low incomes.

    The first Peabody homes for the 'artisan and labouring poor of London' open at Commercial Street, Spitalfields. This estate, and all of our other estates until the end of the 19th century, are designed by architect Henry Astley Darbishire.

  • 1869 1913 Queen Victoria

    1869 - 1913

    The early years

    George Peabody dies in London in November, aged 74. His funeral is held at Westminster Abbey, where he's buried for just one month. In December, his body's taken to his final resting place in the US.

    There are now five Peabody estates in London.

    The first Peabody estate south of the River Thames is built. The Blackfriars estate in Southwark has 384 flats in 19 blocks.

    Queen Victoria grants Peabody a Royal Charter, which gives us more powers. It allows Peabody to operate within a 12-mile radius of the Royal Exchange, which stands in the heart of the City of London.

  • 1914 1959 Tower Bridge

    1914 - 1959

    Destruction, despair and then repair

    First World War breaks out. During the war several thousand men from Peabody estates serve in the armed forces, with nearly 400 dying on active service. Peabody now has 24 estates across London.

    Starting in 1922 with the opening of the Horseferry Road estate, Peabody’s work continues to expand across London. The very large Hammersmith estate – the last one to have a separate bathhouse and laundry block – is formally opened in 1927 by the US Ambassador.

    By the end of the Second World War, air raids have caused extensive damage to a number of Peabody estates. Around 200 residents and three members of staff have been killed. It will take Peabody more than ten years to repair and rebuild.

    A private Act of Parliament is passed – the Peabody Donation Fund Act 1948 - to further modernise the powers of the trustees. This time, the area of operations is extended to a radius of 25 miles from the Royal Exchange

  • 1960 1994 Cathy Come Home

    1960 - 1994

    Speaking out about poor housing

    The Catholic Housing Aid Society, which becomes the Family Housing Association, then Family Mosaic and ultimately part of Peabody, opens branches across the country. Volunteers hold weekly advice sessions for people in difficult housing situations.

    Ealing Family Housing Association (EFHA), which later becomes Catalyst Housing Limited and ultimately part of Peabody, is founded by a group of Ealing residents. It aims to improve the conditions of local housing and provide homes for local people who couldn't compete on the open market.

    Rev Eamonn Casey, National Director of the Catholic Housing Aid Society, helps set up the homelessness charity, Shelter. This follows the BBC screening of Cathy Come Home, a film about a young family pulled apart by worsening housing conditions.

  • 1995 2010 HRH Bruce House

    1995 - 2010

    A celebration of life and progress

    Thousands of people join together across London and the US to celebrate 200 years since the birth of George Peabody. Queen Elizabeth II opens Bruce House in Covent Garden, a former London County Council (LCC) building modernised by Peabody. In November, a service of thanksgiving for George Peabody’s life is held at Westminster Abbey.

    Peabody sets up the Waltham Forest Community Based Housing Association (CBHA) in partnership with  Waltham Forest Housing Action Trust to refurbish four former local authority estates.

    Peabody sets up a new directorate dedicated to community regeneration. It aims to support residents into work and empower people to live happier and more fulfilling lives.

  • 2011 2016 Westminster Abbey 207

    2011 - 2016

    Securing more homes for more people

    The Crown Estate Commissioners transfer 1,230 homes on four London estates to Peabody.

    Peabody celebrates its 150th anniversary with a year of special events. Hundreds of residents, staff and friends attend a service at Westminster Abbey, street parties, a sports day and more.

    Gallions Housing Association joins Peabody. This marks the start of an ambitious long term regeneration plan to improve, grow and look after Thamesmead.

  • 2017 2021 Kids With Painted Faces

    2017 - 2021

    Growing stronger every day

    Family Mosaic merges with Peabody. The two organisations share a strong social purpose and vision to provide high-quality, affordable housing, community investment, and care and support programmes. CBHA also merges with Peabody. The merger is completed in March 2018 when Peabody, Family Mosaic and Gallions all become one organisation.

    Town and Country Housing, a Kent-based housing association, joins Peabody as a subsidiary.

  • 2022 Now WBR Reopening

    2022 - now

    Today's Peabody - continuing to help people flourish

    Peabody and Catalyst Housing Association join together, with Catalyst becoming a subsidiary of the Peabody Group.

    Town & Country Housing and Rosebery Housing Association join together as a single organisation within the Peabody Group.

    Peabody and Catalyst Housing Association merge to become one organisation with over 107,000 homes and 220,000 customers across London and the Home Counties. Peabody also has 20,000 care and support customers.

Dalgarno Gardens

Our history

We started over 160 years ago with one man and £150,000. Find out how we've grown into an organisation with 107,000 homes and 220,000 residents.
Man wearing a black jacket, looking at the camera

Our founder, George Peabody

George Peabody (1795-1869) was born in Massachusetts in the US. One of eight children, he left school at the age of 11 to work and help support his family.
Vauxhall Bridge Road

Our estate history

Our estates are our heritage. Find out more about the homes and communities we've created and how they've changed over the past 160 years.

Got a question about our archive – or have a story to tell?

Please email: history@peabody.org.uk
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