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RICS 150

25 JAN 2018

Ted Watts: Social housing pioneer

Ted Watts, co-founded Hyde Housing Association, which over the past 50 years has owned or managed circa 50,000 homes in London and the South of England. A true entrepreneur, Watts also started his own surveying firm and went on to become President of RICS.

Ted Watts is one of Hyde Housing Association’s three founders, and was its first Chairman. Hyde was created in 1967 at a time when Britain’s major cities were struggling to overcome the impact of WWII.

Ted and his co-founders, Michael Hollingsworth and John Childs, were concerned by the increasing numbers of homeless people and decided to provide affordable homes for those who were excluded from the mainstream housing market.

Affordable housing

In its early years, Hyde focused on transforming old existing homes into affordable housing. After the introduction of the 1974 Housing Act, which gave housing associations funding for social housing, Hyde turned to small scale, new build schemes. Hyde’s first new build was in Sydenham, South East London and provided 100 two and three bedroom flats. Not only was Hyde the first housing association to develop a scheme of this size, but it was also a pioneer in specialist housing, providing homes for 1,500 people with disabilities by 1990

Hyde also became an innovator in housing for the elderly. Having noted the disproportionately low-quality housing for older people, Hyde set up the Staying Put Project that helped adapt elderly homes so that residents could stay in their own homes rather than move into homes.

As well as founding the Hyde Housing Association, Ted Watts started his own surveying business (Watts & Partners) in the late 1960s, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. In 1992 Ted became the first building surveyor to be named President of RICS.

The creation of Hyde Housing Association has revolutionised the affordable housing market in London and the South of England over the past 50 years. Not only did Ted Watts and his fellow founders create a housing association that has provided decent housing to thousands of people, but they improved the quality of life for many older people, and people with disabilities.