The Early Years
LHA London has been providing high quality accommodation in London since 1940 – we are currently celebrating our 75th Anniversary this year!
Created to give shelter to those made homeless by the Blitz; we now cater for students, up-and-coming working people and those starting out in London for the first time.
Whether you are looking to make friends or take time to get to know London, with 13 sites across the city – LHA is the perfect place to start your adventure in the nation’s capital.
The Government of the day set up London Hostels Association Ltd (LHA) with a Council of Management charged with the task of providing hostels for the homeless on the 5th November 1940.
The Council set to work looking for buildings, which could each hold about 50 people. But with bombs falling every night, buildings had to have basements or other spaces that could be converted to provide bomb shelters. This added to the difficulties of opening hostels. Nevertheless some ten weeks after the company was formed Mrs Churchill opened the first hostel in January 1941. The charges were £1 a week plus a shilling for any meals on Saturday and Sunday!
By the end of 1942 there were 33 hostels housing some 700 people, many of whom had been brought to London for job roles created by the war.
With the end of the war the number of hostels was gradually reduced. By the 1950’s the bulk of the residents were young people recruited in the provinces for work in Government departments. This continued to be the situation until the seventies, by which time there were 17 hostels.
LHA is now a charity, but still managed by a voluntary Board of Trustees. We now have thirteen large hostels providing affordable accommodation for nearly 2000 people. All have been modernised and refurbished over the past decade. In eight of our site, residents prepare their own food in shared kitchens. The remainder offers a catered service with large buffet-style cafeterias.
Today, the majority of our residents are young, single people studying or working in London, and live with LHA either to undertake educational courses, or if working, to give themselves time to familiarise with London, to make friends and to decide whether or not to make more private and long term arrangements for housing.
LHA London’s most recent development, Torquay House, is located in Paddington Basin and accommodated it’s first residents in March 2015. You can find more information on the official opening of the building from September 2015 here.