George Peabody, an American philanthropist, set up The Peabody Donation Fund in 1862 to “ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy in this great metropolis”. During his lifetime, he donated £500,000 to the Fund – now known simply as Peabody – which is equivalent to many millions today.
Peabody only operates in London, as specified in its original charter. Its first dwellings for the “artisans and labouring poor” were opened in Commercial Street, Spitalfields in February 1864. These flats housed 66 low-income families and included provision for shops and laundries and marked the beginning of its work in London,
A hundred and fifty years on, Peabody is thriving. It owns or manages more than 20,000 homes for 50,000 people in 25 boroughs It is known for its innovative, robust and attractive new developments and has plans to build 5,000 new homes by 2020.
Its mission is as relevant today as it was during George Peabody’s lifetime – to make London a city of opportunity for everyone by ensuring that as many people as possible have a good home, a real sense of purpose and a strong sense of belonging. This mission is the driving force behind everything Peabody does.