Living in the past: The old housing keeping a roof over our heads

mewsLondon is a modern city with a high proportion of very old housing. The population has climbed to a record level but the supply of new homes has failed to keep pace. In the last decade fewer homes were built than in the 1960s and 70s, when the population was shrinking. The capital is still very reliant on housing from the 19th century.

Nearly a quarter of the homes in London were built before 1900. This is especially true for inner London. The 1930s saw a house-building boom as the population rose to a record level that has only just been surpassed. The data for house building,  going back to 1871, shows the surges in the Victorian and Edwardian periods but neither matches the peaks or the 1930s.

housing stock built

The current housing stock reflects how that building activity was spread across the capital. Inner London was the focus in the early 1900s and before. The 1920s and 30s saw the shift to outer London and the development of the suburbs.

housing stock age

Across the capital there are some vastly contrasting borough stories. 65% of housing in Kensington and Chelsea was built before 1900. In Barking and Dagenham it is just 1%. As the map below, produced by the GLA in the Housing in London report, shows the red areas of 1900s housing are inner city, surrounded by the orange of 1930s development.

housing stock map

The blue areas of recent building show the re-development of docklands areas in Tower Hamlets. 28% of the borough’s housing stock was built in the 21st century, which is the highest proportion in London and the UK.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has described the need to build more homes as an “epic challenge”. It’s estimated that more than 40,000 more homes are a year required for the next 20 years to meet demand. The housing stock map of London will need a lot more blue zones on the map to reduce the reliance on the dark red legacy of those Victorian builders.

Source data

See also

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live

More homes packed into built up inner city as growth stalls in outer areas

House price rises fuel affordability crisis for Londoners


Tube Delays: Jubilee Line

Tube stationThe Jubilee is the newest Tube line but it faces an age-old problem for every urban underground – delays caused by its passengers. This was the single biggest factor in 2014/15 causing 22% of time lost compared to 17% for the whole network.

Delays caused by what TfL calls “customers and public action” include commuters taking ill, items dropped on the track and people jumping in front of trains. The grim “person under a train…” message is familiar and more than 20 people a year kill themselves on the Underground.

Transport for London measures delays in what it calls Lost Customer Hours (LCH). These are calculated by multiplying the delays in minutes by the number of passengers. TfL records all delays over 2 minutes. It uses the financial year from April to March and splits the year in 13 equal periods for performance measurement.

Data in the London Underground Performance Almanac for the last full year shows there was an average of 292,033 Lost Customer Hours per period on the Jubilee line. This makes it the second highest on the network after the Central line.

LCH Jubilee

While the Jubilee line has seen an improvement over the past 10 years in Lost Customer Hours the numbers rose slightly at the start of 2015/16 year in April.

The Jubilee line is the only line to see “stations” listed as a significant source of delay. Although the line was opened as recently as 1979 a number of its stations date back 100 years and were used by other lines originally. The line was extended in the 1990s though the Docklands to Stratford.

Source data

See also

Central Line leads the lost hours league table of your Tube delays

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest