Image of theatre: Courtesy of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Key dates

Parliament authorizes more than 600 Acts for new improvement schemes in British towns

1846 - Nuisance Removal Act
Begins defining conditions considered unfit for human habitation in living accommodation

1848 - Public Health Act
Establishes a General Board of Health, marking the first acceptance by government of responsibility for the health of the population

1872 - Public Health Act
Appointment of medical officers is made compulsory in urban areas

1875 - Public Health Act
Establishes a coherent administrative machinery to deal locally with issues of health and sanitation. Local authorities required to provide water, drainage and sewerage

1875 - Artisans' and Labourers' Dwellings Act
Gives local authorities power to buy up and redevelop slum areas

1890 - Housing of the Working Classes Act
Extends the 1875 Artisans' Act by offering greatly increased loans to local authorities

Work begins on Letchworth, Britain's first 'garden city'

1906 - Hampstead Garden Suburb Act

1909 - Housing and Town Planning Act
Compels local authorities to tackle substandard housing; new housing developments encouraged on 'garden city' principles; 'back-to-back' housing made illegal

1918 - Addison's Housing Act
The building of 500,000 new homes planned, but only 213,000 completed

1924 - Housing Act
Extensive grants to local councils for new housing

1930 - Housing Act
Requires the clearance of all remaining slum accommodation and rehousing

1946 - New Towns Act
Leads to the creation of new towns at Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead, Basildon, Bracknell, Corby, Crawley, Harlow, Hatfield, Aycliffe, Peterlee, Cwmbran, East Kilbride and Glenrothes

1947 - Town and Country Planning Act
Establishes procedures to control the growth of towns and cities

Also in this section

Current parliamentary business on the topic of housing and planning