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Rachman Hardcover – 17 Sep 1979

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; 1st edition (17 Sept. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718117395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718117399
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been attempting to track down a copy of this rather specialist book for quite some time. It is a compelling read which in my opinion deserves close study. Shirley Green has conducted painstaking research putting this fascinating book together.

The item was received in good condition very speedily. Impressed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e12dce4) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e1315c4) out of 5 stars Peter Rachman - London Slum Landlord 1 Feb. 2008
By DM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found this book listed as a 'The Macallan Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction' at [...] but couldn't find any info as to just what it was about. I haven't read the book.

Peter Rachman (1920'1962) was a London landlord in the mid-20th century, active in the Notting Hill area in the 1950s and 1960s.
Rachman's name is so synonymous with bad housing that is included in English dictionaries: Rachmanism: 'Landlords buying up slums to fill with immigrants at extortionate rents; synonym for any greedy, unscrupulous landlord

Rachman was born Perec Rachman in Poland in 1920, the son of a Jewish dentist. He was not interned by the Nazis, but did spend time in a Soviet labour camp before fleeing to the United Kingdom. Rachman soon built up a property empire in north London consisting of more than one hundred mansion blocks and several nightclubs. He operated from an office in Westbourne Grove and the first house he purchased and used for multi-occupation was in now-fashionable St. Stephen's Gardens, London W2. Adjacent areas including Powis Sqare were also early areas where he subdivided and let rooms, initially often for prostitution. Much of this area south of Westbourne Park Road, having become derelict, was compulsorily purchased by Westminster City council in the late 1960s and demolished in 1973-4 to make way for the "Wessex Gardens" estate.

His modus operandi was to evict the sitting tenants of the properties he purchased using violent methods (as they had statutory protection against high rent increases) and then to pack the properties with recent immigrants from the West Indies. New tenants did not have the same protection under the law as the sitting tenants had possessed following the relaxation of rent controls by the Conservative government in 1957, and so could be charged any amount Rachman wished. Most of the new tenants were Afro-Caribbean immigrants who had no choice but to accept the high rents as it was difficult for them to obtain housing in London at the time due to the colour bar. Indeed, Rachman's reputation, which he even promoted in the media, was initially as someone who could help to find and provide accommodation for immigrants who otherwise would find it difficult.

Rachman did not achieve general notoriety until after his death in 1962, when the Profumo affair of 1963 hit the headlines and it emerged that Mandy Rice-Davies had been one of his mistresses and that he had owned the infamous mews house in Marylebone where Rice-Davies and Christine Keeler had plied their trade. He had actually largely moved out of slum-landlording into property development after 1958 but his former henchmen, including the equally-notorious Michael de Freitas (AKA Michael X/Abdul Malik), who still managed to build an almost separate life and reputation as a black-power leader and even promoter of jazz and blues, helped to keep him in the limelight[3][4].

As full details of his activities were revealed, there was a call for new legislation to prevent such practices led by Ben Parkin, MP for North Paddington, who coined the phrase "Rachmanism". The subsequent 1965 Rent Act added to the security of tenants but had the unintended consequence that private rented housing became scarce.

Rachman's own home in Hampstead was furnished in a lavish, Louis XV style, the house became the venue for decadent parties and a byword for conspicuous consumption. He owned six cars; his wife was given a red Jaguar, his mistress a white one. There was nothing retiring about this landlord. When he had pocketed his rent, he would drive around the capital in a white sharkskin suit and hand-stitched crocodile shoes, usually with a fat cigar in his mouth.
HASH(0x9e132ab0) out of 5 stars A fabulous book and a gripping but sad story 3 Nov. 2012
By give peas a chance - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read this book having heard the recent BBC programme on the 50th anniversary of Rachman's death, having quite recently moved into the Notting Hill area, now of course much gentrified since the 50's. I found it a compassionate and compelling read, exploring the life of the man, the financial events and the strange melting pot of characters that surrounded his life. It brought to life the history of this area, and leaves me wanting to know more and with a completely different perspective of the man than the popular press and history has left us.
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