Reverend Bruce Kenrick (1920 – 2007) In Memoriam
Clergyman and Housing Campaigner- Merchant Taylors School 1929 – 36
Rev Bruce Kenrick, founder of the Charity, Shelter, was born in Aintree in 1920 and was educated at Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School. He was studying accountancy, expecting to join the family firm, when the Second World War broke out and he served as a stretcher bearer in the Army Medical Corps on the Gold Coast. His time there sparked ambitions to become a doctor but whilst at Edinburgh University he switched from his medical degree to a divinity degree. He lived for a time in Bengal with his wife Isabel, supporting land reform, but was forced back to Britain after he contracted typhoid.
The Kenricks then moved to Notting Hill which was at that time run down, drab with very poor housing conditions. In response to the awful conditions Bruce founded the Notting Hill Housing Trust with the aim of buying, renovating and renting out houses and flats. Bruce’s passion for social responsibility and his energetic approach took the trust from its first fundraiser on Portobello Road raising just £24 to raising £20,000 thanks to an advert in The Guardian. In 1966 Shelter was then launched as a national campaigning body. Bruce is said to have been instrumental in persuading Harold Wilson’s Labour government to legislate for the provision of funds to housing associations to renovate run down properties and provide a rent rebate scheme for poorer tenants.
After leaving Shelter, he went on to travel the world on a Churchill fellowship, then retired to Iona for the last 20 years of his life.
(Reference: The Guardian (19 January 2007) and The Telegraph (19 January 2007)
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