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In 1966 campaigners highlighted the appalling conditions at the King Hill hostel in West Malling, Kent. Homeless families in Essex were housed in disused RAF huts, however, conditions at the hostel were terrible. 45 women and over 100 children shared communal lavatories and sinks, there was no power, gas supply or telephone. In addition, husbands were not allowed to stay with their wives and families. Some men had been sneaking in to the hostel at night and were arrested and sent to prison for doing so. Stays at the hostel were limited to 3 months, after which time families were evicted irrespective of circumstances. Many families were broken up and children taken into care. The protests coincided with the release of the film 'Cathy Come Home' which tackled issues of homelessness, unemployment and the rights of mothers to keep their children.
© Henry Grant Collection/Museum of London