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Looking after Julie for life – 100 years of council housing

Published: 27 August 2019

Julie Hemstock Julie and her husband Peter look back over the years spent in council housing

Exeter celebrates 100 years of council housing tomorrow with a celebration event in the city.

Still going strong in Exeter, the City Council is as committed as ever to building hundreds of new energy efficient homes.

To mark 100 years, the Council has been catching up with a number of its tenants to find out about their own personal experiences living in council housing in Exeter.

Julie Hemstock has spent almost her entire life living in council accommodation - and she has loved every minute of it. And that is saying something when you first get to share your life with 11 brothers and sisters!

Julie (66), has been married to her second husband Peter (70), for 30 years. They are now both retired and living in a City Council-run older persons’ housing complex.

In recent years they have both suffered strokes. They have been living in their housing complex for the past six years. There are about 40 flats with a real community.

One of the highlights of the monthly calendar is the Cliff Richard-inspired Golden Oldies or Sing and Smile sessions.

"It gets people down from their flats which is vital," says Julie. "You don't want people just staying in their flat. That is no life."

She has a grown up son and daughter, five grandchildren and a four-year-old great-granddaughter.

She was born in Exeter and lived with her family in Rifford Road. It was a four-bedroom council house. She was one of 16 children. Two of the children sadly died in childbirth and two others were tragically lost to measles. That left her with six brothers and five sisters.

She lived there until she was 19 when she got married for the first time. She then lived in a council property in Burnthouse Lane.

She said: “The council have looked after us. They have been brilliant. If we need something done we speak to somebody and it is always done. I cannot fault them. Exeter City Council is the best.”

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