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Lord Rowton wanted to provide clean and decent accommodation for working men, who in that era were often forced to stay in filthy and disease-ridden common lodging houses.
The ‘Rowton Houses’ were a great success, and enjoyed a reputation for providing the cleanest and best value accommodation in London.
When it opened, Arlington housed over 1,000 labourers, mostly Irish immigrants looking for work in the capital.
The hostel continued to be a refuge for people in need, but a series of renovations to increase the room sizes gradually reduced the number of rooms over the years.
One Housing took over Arlington in 2009 and transformed it into a multi-purpose hub of commercial and support services, making it the largest mixed use homeless hostel in the UK.
Arlington is the only Rowton House still in use as a hostel today.