“Young people should worry out their difficulties and learn the lesson of living together without unnecessary outside interference.” Under the headline “Homes for the people”, the Guardian columnist’s words were not in support of the scores of young people forced back to their family homes thanks to the influenza pandemic, but a plea to prioritise housing in the government’s postwar recovery published in 1944.
Now, Canon Peter Green’s legacy will be Salford’s first affordable housing development in decades, named after his pen name: Artifex. The new high-rise development in Trinity will have more than 100 affordable homes.
The 11-storey building, due to be completed by spring, will be near St Philip’s church, where Green served as a rector. Writing in the Manchester Guardian under the pseudonym during the first world war and until the 1950s, Green used his weekly column to speak out against war, injustice and racism.
Sue Sutton, chief executive at Salix Homes, said the Artifex development will bring 108 desperately needed affordable homes for people in Salford, at a time of a housing crisis. The area is the 18th most-deprived local authority in England, whose mayor is keen to use housing to create a more equal society.
“We wanted to pay our own tribute to this much-respected Salford son whose fight against social injustice represents our own beliefs and values at Salix Homes and our ethos to deliver high-quality, affordable housing for everyone,” she said.
The tower block’s one- and two-bedroom apartments will be available under the government’s rent-to-buy scheme, with rent 20% below the market value for the area. After five years of renting, residents will have the option to purchase the flat.
Dr Janette Martin, modern history archivist (special collections) at John Rylands Library, part of the University of Manchester, said the naming of the Artifex building during the year the Guardian celebrates its bicentenary is a “fitting tribute to the memory of the champion of social justice, compassion and decent housing”.