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Rev. Charles Jenkinson, Councillor and Leader of Leeds City Council, portrait

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Leeds Library & Information Services
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LEO 3875
Rev. Charles Jenkinson, Councillor and Leader of Leeds City Council, portrait
1935. Portrait photo of Rev. Charles (Charlie) Jenkinson (1887-1949), Vicar of Holbeck and Leader of Leeds City Council. He was originally from a large family in London where his father worked as a docker. He started work as a law stationer's clerk before serving in World War 1 and eventually gaining a law degree and taking Holy Orders. He was elected as a Labour member of Leeds City Council in 1930 and in 1933 became Chairman of the Housing Commitee. In this role he was responsible for the demolition of 14,000 slum dwellings and the building of over 15,000 council houses, an issue that he became passionate about after seeing the living conditions of some of his Holbeck parishioners. He was also responsible for the introduction of a scheme of rent relief for lower paid families, a scheme which was met with a lot of opposition. The first people to vacate their condemned housing moved onto a brand new housing estate in Gipton, a 'garden suburb'. As well as flats for the elderly, there were houses specially designed for sufferers from consumption called 'sunshine houses'. Other amenities were built on the estate such as shops. Charles Jenkinson also came up with a scheme which allowed the new residents to pay for decent utility furniture, supplied by the council, on hire purchase in addition to their rent. Along with architect R.A.H. Livett, the Director of Housing, he was involved in the design of Quarry Hill Flats. On leaving Leeds Rev Jenkinson went to Stevenage and was appointed Chairman of the Stevenage New Town Development Corporation on a salary of £1,500 per year. He is quoted as saying "There's nothing to warrant the sum" and constantly gave money away to missionary societies, to help finance church work and to friends. The Reverend Charles Jenkinson died at the age of 61 in 1949. (Some information is taken from "This Turbulent Priest" by H. J. Hammerton, published in 1952 by Lutterworth Press)

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