Northern Ireland Housing Executive
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive was established in 1971 and became the largest housing authority in Western Europe. It grew out of civil unrest and was the result of thoroughgoing reform of housing administration and local government so that all housing stock held by local government and development agencies was transferred to the Executive. The new body recruited its own architects, engineers and quantity surveyors as well as housing and administrative staff (totaling 2,800 employees by 1973). Set up by legislation, it was charged with providing a fair and equitable housing system as well as improving housing conditions. The Executive inherited some of the worst housing conditions in Europe at the time; which, as a former Chairman, Sir Charles Brett, noted, was all the more shocking since a century before housing conditions in Belfast and Derry had paradoxically been the best in the British Isles (Housing a Divided Community, p.16).