Vincent House was built in 1939 by Vincent House Limited under the leadership of Alice Roughton. Alice’s grand-mother, Evelyn Hopkinson, had previously established two earlier residences in Westminster – Hopkinson House and Brabazon House, both of which were eventually sold to the local authority.
Although the principles of Evelyn Hopkinson and, subsequently, Alice Roughton were primarily philanthropic they set up the houses to be run on business lines and enable shareholders to be paid a reasonable dividend.
Vincent House quickly attracted residents from its opening in March 1940 even though World War Two had started a few months earlier. As a result most of the early residents were men and women working in government or military posts and the House continued to attract civil servants working in London for many years following the war.
In 1964 Vincent House was under threat from predators keen to acquire the attractively located property and, in order to protect the House, Vincent Housing Association Limited (VHA) was formed. During the decades that followed VHA built upon the House’s early achievements and continued to attract an increasingly diverse range of people to stay at the House. This continued to be VHA’s sole activity until the late 1990’s, when its solid foundation and sustained success meant it was in a position to invest in further properties.
In 1998 VHA completed the purchase of a dilapidated supermarket in Hayes, Middlesex for the development of a project with Yeldall Homeless Projects, which has since been re-named Trinity Homeless Projects. Trinity leases the property at a ‘peppercorn rent’ and manages a scheme at the property, now called Carlisle House, which includes shared accommodation for up to 7 individuals and also provides training and employment to a wide range of vulnerable people in a retail outlet selling recycled furniture and household items.
In 1999 VHA agreed to acquire a property on behalf of Stepping Stones Trust (SST) to provide a home for ex-offenders. It took over two years to find a suitable property and in 2001 a house previously used as a bed & breakfast was acquired in South Croydon. A low-rent lease was agreed with SST to enable them to focus their resources on providing support and managing the scheme at what they decided to call Hope House. In 2012 SST merged with Langley House Trust (LHT), a larger organisation providing similar services to ex-offenders, which is continuing the scheme at Hope House.
In recent years VHA has also made several donations (ranging from £1000 to £25,000) to organisations involved in working in the field of homelessness including Shelter, The House of St Barnabas, Riverpoint, The Big Issue Foundation and many others and has also deposited funds in Charity Bank.
VHA’s chairman until 2015, Geoffrey Roughton, had a particular interest in social entrepreneurship as applied to the provision of housing, reflecting the fact that both his mother, Alice Roughton, and his great grandmother, Evelyn Hopkinson, were early exponents of the principles.
You can read more in VINCENT HOUSE, THE HISTORY (latest edition published 2010). For a PDF version please click on Vincent House History 2010 or to request a booklet to be posted to you please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org