In United Kingdom, the Council house is considered a form of public or social housing. The main aim for the construction of these Council houses was to build good and uncrowded homes at reasonable rates for the local population of Britain. It is said that roughly 45% of the country’s housing is managed by housing associations, 40% is owned by local authorities and 15% are operated by arm’s length management organizations.
Almshouses were established from the 10th century, to provide a place of residence for “poor, old and distressed folk”. The first recorded Almshouse was founded in York by King Athelstan, and the oldest is the Hospital of St. Cross in Winchester. During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century many philanthropists and social commentators said that these homes increased sickness and deaths.
Hence, the pressure for decent housing increased during this time and Council houses were constructed. As a consequence the London County Council opened the Boundary Estate in 1900, and many local councils began building flats and houses in the early 20th century. Moreover, the First World War provided a further impetus for the construction of neatly build flats and homes for the poor and sick.
However, afterward tower blocks became the preferred model. The argument was that more dwellings could be provided this way (a claim on which research at the LSE has cast serious doubt). On many estates, older council houses, with their largely superior build quality, have outlived them.
For many working class people, these types of homes provided the first experience of private garden space (usually front and rear), as well as the first private and indoor toilets and bathrooms, with hot running water.
Central government (under both the Conservative and Labor parties) saw the provision of housing as a major part of its policy, and provided subsidies for local authorities to build such housing.