An enquiry, held by Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet into the mutinous incidents that occurred at Invergordon in 1931, revealed that one of the grievances by ratings was the high cost of renting housing at their home bases.
Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust (RNBT) considered providing housing at cheaper rentals but because the scheme was intended to apply to Portsmouth only, the proposal was vetoed by the Chatham and Devonport representatives. However, the idea continued to appeal to the lower deck in Portsmouth and late in 1932 the Canteen Committee of the Portsmouth RN Barracks decided to step in.
Victory Housing Society
The Admiralty was approached about the purchase of a plot of land at Tipner which was jointly owned by the Admiralty and the War Office. No naval funds were available to support the scheme but they agreed to sell the land for a nominal sum. A committee of management consisting of retired officers and ratings was formed and was called the Victory Housing Society; the Commodore RN Barracks was the ex-officio Chairman.
The Canteen Committee of HMS Victory loaned the Victory Housing Society £6,000 free of interest and building operations started at Tipner; to complete the building of all the houses, a further £34,000 was borrowed from the Public Works Loans Board through Portsmouth Corporation repayable over 50 years at the prevailing rate of interest.
Altogether 132 houses were built plus a shop and a post office with two flats over it. The houses were described as five-roomed non-parlour type, consisting of three bedrooms, sitting-dining room and kitchen. Each house also had a lavatory, bathroom, coal house and shed with a sizeable garden in front and back. The rent was 12s 6d per week, which was only marginally different than the going rate, but the standard of housing was much better.
Purchase of 24 acres
It was decided to commence building on the Gosport side of the harbour. The Canteen Committee of HMS Victory made an initial loan of £10,000, providing funds for the compulsory purchase of 24 acres of land at Bridgemary Gosport for £4,321 and sufficient funds to start the building of houses. A further sum of £322,000 was borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board through Gosport Corporation at the prevailing rate of interest.
A total of 278 semi-detached houses were built at Bridgemary with three bedrooms, separate lavatory and bathroom on the first floor. On the ground floor was a sitting room, dining room and kitchen. As with the houses at Tipner, there was a shed and coal house and a fair-sized garden in front and back.
Victory Housing Society
There was a shortage of naval married quarters which persuaded Senior Rates who could afford to do so to purchase their own houses and, thus fortunately for them, an early entry into the property market.
As married quarters became more available this led to a decrease in the demand for Victory Housing properties to rent. Therefore, it was decided to review the objectives of the Victory Housing Society. The committee looked towards the future particularly to the housing needs of elderly retired RN ratings and RM other ranks and decided to dispose of the Tipner estate and to use the money raised for building sheltered housing on a plot of land which formed part of the Bridgemary Estate. Sitting tenants in the houses owned by the Victory Housing Society at Tipner bought their homes with the help of mortgages from the Portsmouth Building Society at a fixed rate of 7%.
Agamemnon Housing Association was formed
Agamemnon Housing Association was formed in 1974 with the same Management Committee as the Victory Housing Society under the chairmanship of the Commodore HMS Nelson.
With the aid of a Housing Association Grant and funds raised from the sale of the houses at Tipner, the first sheltered housing project, Neptune Court, was completed and officially opened by Earl Mountbatten of Burma. The court consisted of 36 self-contained apartments with communal facilities including lounges, launderette, extensive gardens and a guest room for visitors, all under the supervision of a resident Scheme Manager.
It was decided in 1983 to offer for sale to the sitting tenants all 278 houses owned by Victory Housing Society at Bridgemary and, with the consent of the Housing Corporation, transfer the proceeds to the Association that would continue building sheltered housing.
Sales of these houses, at a discount similar to the Government Right-to-Buy scheme, began.
Cornwell Court with 40 apartments in Haslemere Road, Southsea was opened by Admiral Sir Julian Oswald.
Victory Court with 37 apartments in Beauchamp Avenue, Bridgemary was opened by Lord Fieldhouse
Somerville Court with 25 apartments in Stakes Hill Road, Waterlooville was built on land purchased from the RN and RM Children’s Home and opened by Admiral Sir Julian Oswald.
Sirius Court with 37 apartments in Sackville Road, Southsea was opened by Major General Fulton, Royal Marines.
Cornwell Court was extended on land bought from three neighbouring properties, providing a further 15 apartments and the Scheme Manager’s flat. This extension was opened by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band. The Secretary of the Association renamed the Chief Executive Officer.
Eliza McKenzie Court
Eliza McKenzie Court with 46 apartments in Lindisfarne Close, Cosham was opened by Captain Steven Spencer RN (Matron-in-Chief). Head Office moves from Barham Block in HMS Nelson to a purpose built office (Agamemnon House) attached to Eliza Mackenzie Court.
Commenced a trial of a full time Wellbeing Assistant and introduced Wellbeing Rooms into some courts. Ceased all cash transactions and all rent now paid by Standing Order.
A Proud Naval Housing Association.
Our aim is to provide affordable and sensitively managed sheltered housing for people over 60 years of age, giving priority to those who have served in the Armed Forces and their surviving partners or relatives. We also aim to meet the needs of those with priority on housing waiting lists when possible.