Wirral Methodist Housing Association has an extensive and important history in Birkenhead that we are hugely proud of. It was at a Methodist Circuit Meeting in 1963 that a young teacher stood up and told of the plight of one of his pupils and the appalling housing conditions which he and his family had to endure.
The appeal was so touching that a group of eight individuals from that meeting pledged to help and combat these housing conditions. The group was subsequently gathered together at the home of William T Frost, which became the office for the new organisation. The money from the sale of his house had been put to use to create a home, office, coffee bar and chapel where the young people of the neighbourhood could spend their spare time in a productive and informal way in a caring and friendly environment, known as the ‘Horseman’.
The first meeting of those eight members took place on Monday 20 April 1964 and it was agreed that the organisation would be known as ‘Birkenhead (Methodist) Housing Aid Society Limited’ with Will Frost as its first Secretary.
The Committee decided to purchase its first 4 houses for letting at ‘reasonable’ rents to applicants, ‘irrespective of colour, class or creed’. An appeal was launched for money needed to fund these purchases and the necessary repairs, members of the committee delving deep into their own pockets. The steady appeal for donations and loans continued and slowly the stock increased. Each house acquired represented an enormous triumph, but with so much work to be done there was no let-up in the search for more properties.
The Housing Act of 1969 enabled Housing Associations to apply for Improvement Grants from Birkenhead Corporation, and for the first time real improvements to the quality of the housing stock became possible. By 1975, the stock had increased to over 50 homes.
In 1976 the organisation became Wirral Methodist Housing Association.