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History of Southsea Self Help Housing Co-operative

  Early History  

Southsea Self Help Housing was formed around 1976, although it was not until September 1981 that it provided its first ‘short life’ housing. It grew out of a campaign - at least an attempt, to prevent the demolition of four streets (Abingdon, Froddington, Carlisle, and Cumberland Roads) These streets comprised of about 400 houses... read more

  Constitution and Structure  

The early ‘constitution’ of the co-op, in common with all co-ops, was based on general co-operative principles: open membership, democratic control, member participation, autonomy & independence, education & training of members, community involvement, etc... read more

  The Office  

The earliest base of operations of the housing co-op was members’ houses. People would be sent to an address; usually following word of mouth, and take it from there. The earliest formal mailing address was All Saints Church, Commercial Rd, which housed the early offices of Portsmouth Housing Association... read more

  Fratton Centre District Plan  

Overshadowing the Short Life housing scheme, and the development of the permanent housing of the co-op, was ‘The Fratton Plan’. Basically, this was a local authority plan dating back to the mid ‘70’s, to ‘breathe new life’ into Fratton inland use and the provision of shopping & business resources, etc...
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  Fund Raising  

Fund raising was important in the early days of the co-op. With little rental income from only a few houses, we simply weren’t accumulating much surplus, and were only providing about £65 decorating allowance per house. Early Jumble Sales were quite ineffectual, sometimes raising less than £5. This got better in ’83 & ’84… (£62, £40 & £43). These continued, off and on until about 1986... read more

  Short Life Housing Scheme  

Before the opening of the first 2 houses 8 & 26 Garnier St. in late ’81, there had been a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ activity: Appointment of Auditors & Solicitors, registration with the National Federation of Housing Associations, and the Registrar of Friendly Societies, drawing up draft Licence Agreements... read more

  Employment Of A Paid Worker for SSHH  

The history of employing a worker for the housing co-op was one fraught with difficulties, where it seemed that if something could go wrong, it did. A lot of this, if not most of it, was beyond our control. There had been pressure on the co-op from very early on to pursue a worker, and once we had set in motion our quest for a permanent housing scheme, it was almost assumed (and inevitable) that we will need an employee... read more

  National Federation of Housing Co-ops  

It was apparent from early on that SSHH needed to broaden its horizons. We were a bit isolated on the south coast, our closest neighbours being SPITHEAD (Southsea), TWO PIERS Housing Co-op in Brighton,, and PRANGLE & HAMWIC in Southampton... read more

  The Arts Connection  

There has always been (and remains) a presence of artists within the co-op (see ‘Members’ section of this site). Early on, we had some links with the Portsmouth Musicians Collective, who for a time had Practise Rooms at the Crystal Rooms. We had members involved in the formation of the Film & Video Co-op, and the Hornpipe Arts Centre Rendezvous Cinema... read more

  Move To Permanent Housing  

As mentioned in the ‘Short Life’ section, in late ’82, P.H.A. had spoken to the council regarding our interest in the Garnier St. plot of land, becoming independent, and registering with the Housing Corporation. In September ’83, it was agreed that P.H.A be our managing agent should we be successful in our registration, obtaining houses and land, and securing a grant... read more

NB: The History of Southsea Self-Help Housing Co-operative has been kindly written and provided by former SSHH tenant Dave Perry.

  After The North South Road  

Holbrook Road, being the new ‘North South Road’, effectively divided the area bounded by the railway line, Victoria Road North, Winston Churchill Avenue, and Somers Road into two. In 1983, construction of the Cumberland Business Centre began on the east side of the new road, while the west side saw a small number of houses built at Froddington Road, and a retirement home, Ian Gibson Court at Carlise Road... read more


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