A.K. Bell, our founder, cared deeply about providing healthy, affordable homes to rent for the ‘working people of Perth’. Our work in housing today honours his original vision and philanthropic approach.
In 1922, A.K. Bell purchased land with the aim of building homes for local people. He would have seen for himself the poor quality and lack of housing for working people, particularly those he employed himself. A reader of John Ruskin, A.K. Bell may have been influenced by his philosophies and thinking, especially about working people and social housing. There were also examples of other model housing estates that could well have inspired him.
The first houses were built around 1923 and the original housing estate was completed by 1931. The houses were distinctive with red sandstone walls, hipped slate roofs, and feature octagonal windows. Each of the original houses has a large garden with space for growing fruit and vegetables, trees and a beech hedge.
A.K. Bell was interested in promoting the health of tenants and believed that fresh air was vitally important to prevent illness – and expensive visits to the doctor. Every house had a plaque with a message to encourage tenants to keep their home well ventilated.
Between the mid 1970’s and 1990’s, the estate was extended with the addition of new houses at Gannochy Avenue, Gannochy Walk and Kinmond Court. These were designed for people living on their own and older people. In October 2020, we completed 48 new houses that celebrate A. K. Bell’s legacy in their design and high quality.