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Meet Stephanie Woods

Stephanie Woods joined Notting Hill Housing (then referred to as the NHH Trust) in December 1970 as Secretary to the Projects Manager. She worked for NHH for eight years, also as Housing Assistant, the organisation’s first Lettings Officer, and was Area Housing Manager by the time she left in 1978. Here she describes the significant role NHH played in her life – setting the stage to meet her future husband and even host their wedding party!

“I grew up near Woking in Surrey. I lived in Canada for a short while in 1966 before returning to London where I worked and trained as a librarian for four years before moving to housing and NHH in 1970.

It was early days for the voluntary housing movement and NHH was working hard to establish itself, under the leadership of John Coward. When I joined, the entire staff was based in All Saints House, North Kensington. At that time improvement work on the houses we bought was done by a band of workers known as ‘Building Section’, and what they were able to do was very basic. Gradually, as proper financing was developed through Kensington Council and then others, the standard of work improved until we were able to provide good, decent homes for our tenants. As NHH became more efficient and organised we expanded our operation into Hammersmith and Ealing.

The years I worked at NHH formed a significant part of my life. This was where I met my husband Ian. We were married on 30 December 1978 and the following day we held our wedding party at what was then the NHH head office in Paddenswick Road, Hammersmith.

I worked with some great people during my time at NHH, some of whom are still close friends. Both NHH and the voluntary housing movement were extremely fortunate to have John Coward at the forefront of what we were trying to achieve. Knowing we were doing something new and valuable made going to work each day exciting and worthwhile.”