Our history

How We Have Grown?

Post-war background

• Between 1948 and 1970, nearly 500,000 West Indians came to live in Britain.

• At first, housing conditions for them were grim, as immigrants had to live in Britain for three years before being allowed to join a waiting list for local authority housing. During this time they were often forced to endure slum conditions in badly maintained private rented accommodation owned by uncaring landlords.


• From 1955, however, housing associations were set up to help immigrants. The first were in Leeds, followed by Birmingham, Nottingham and London.

The homelessness charity Shelter and the Notting Hill Housing Trust were both set up in 1962.

The 1970s

• The 1970s saw the second generation of black and minority ethnic (BME) immigrants born in Britain dispersing more widely across the country.

• Despite the 1976 Race Relations Act designed to promote racial equality, BME communities experienced bigotry and discrimination, fueled by the rise of far right political parties. A School teacher, Blair Peach; a campaigner against the far right, died during an Anti-Nazi League demonstration in Southall.

The 1980s

Despite growing racial unrest, the race riots that erupted in major cities across the country 1980 came as a shock to the British people.

• The 1980s saw the arrival in Britain of BME communities from outside the Caribbean and South Asian

• The government supported the development of BME housing associations and their umbrella organisation, the Federation of Black Housing Organisations, set up in 1984 to represent the sector and lobby on its behalf. Forty BME housing associations were launched during this period.


• Inquilab, which means 'revolution' in Urdu, was founded in Southall. The area has one of the largest concentrations of south Asian people, especially Punjabis, outside the Indian sub-continent.

• The new housing association was set up by local people who fought and argued for its registration with the Housing Corporation. This was finally achieved in 1987.

• Inquilab’s purpose was to provide the housing and support for BME communities in West London.

• We were based first in Southall Monitoring Group’s offices and later on in offices rented from Ealing Family Housing Association.