Peter Rachman
British landlord
Peter Rachman
Peter Rachman was a London landlord in the Notting Hill area in the 1950s and 1960s. He became so notorious for his exploitation of tenants that the word "Rachmanism" entered the OED as a synonym for any greedy, unscrupulous landlord. (Ironically, his last name means 'merciful one' in Hebrew.)
Biography
Peter Rachman's personal information overview.
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News
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Bad landlords are blighting Britain - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
But between them, the government and local authorities need to rise to the challenge posed by a growing private rented sector and come up with effective strategies for dealing with the seeds of a problem we thought we had buried with Peter Rachman
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Proposed cuts in housing benefit - Look Local
Google News - over 5 years
In the 1960s, Peter Rachman became notorious for seeking to maximise his rental from properties by deviously driving out sitting tenants who had statutory protection against high rent increases, in order to pack the properties with new tenants who did
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Millions of tenants snubbed by landlords - Inside Housing
Google News - over 5 years
Peter Rachman became known as Britain's most notorious landlord. He acquired many slum properties in the north London suburbs, particularly around the Notting Hill area, which in the 50s and 60s did not have the hip and trendy image portrayed today
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Jon Snow: After half a century, a forgotten scourge is back - The Independent
Google News - over 5 years
In short Peter Rachman bought up swathes of slum housing in West London, forcing out the long-term white tenants within, and replacing them with high-density new Afro-Caribbean immigrants. Rachman is back. The man may have died in 1962 but the housing
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Critic's Notebook; British Playwrights Look Toward an Era After Thatcherism
NYTimes - over 26 years
LEAD: What will the left-wing playwrights of England do when they don't have Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to kick around anymore? While Mrs. Thatcher is still very much on the scene, the possibility of her political exit in a year or two, as predicted by public opinion polls, may already be sapping the energy from a theater whose most inventive
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Peter Rachman
    FORTIES
  • 1962
    Age 43
    After suffering two heart attacks, Peter Rachman died in Edgware General Hospital on 29 November 1962, at the age of 43.
    More Details Hide Details He is buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Bushey, Hertfordshire. Rachman was denied British citizenship. As his hometown was transferred from Poland to the Soviet Union, he became stateless. Citations Bibliography
  • 1960
    Age 41
    Rachman married his long-standing girlfriend Audrey O'Donnell in 1960 but remained a compulsive womaniser, maintaining Mandy Rice-Davies as his mistress at 1 Bryanston Mews West, W1, where he had previously briefly installed Christine Keeler.
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  • 1959
    Age 40
    A special police unit was set up to investigate Rachman in 1959, and uncovered a network of 33 companies controlling his property empire.
    More Details Hide Details They also discovered Rachman was involved in prostitution and he was prosecuted twice for brothel-keeping. Rachman did not achieve general notoriety until after his death, when the Profumo Affair of 1963 hit the headlines and it emerged that both Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies had been his mistresses, and that he had owned the mews house in Marylebone where Rice-Davies and Keeler had stayed. 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 Rent Act 1965 gave security to tenants.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1958
    Age 39
    By 1958 he had largely moved out of slum-landlording into property development, but his former henchmen, including the equally-notorious Michael de Freitas (aka Michael X/Abdul Malik), who created a reputation as a black-power leader, and Johnny Edgecombe, who became a promoter of jazz and blues, helped to keep him in the limelight.
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  • 1957
    Age 38
    Rachman began his career by working for an estate agent in Shepherd's Bush. By 1957, he built up a property empire in west London consisting of more than one hundred mansion blocks and several nightclubs.
    More Details Hide Details His office was at 91–93 Westbourne Grove, in Bayswater, and the first house he purchased and used for multi-occupation was nearby in now-fashionable St Stephen's Gardens, W2. In adjacent areas in Notting Hill (W11), including Powis Square, Powis Gardens, Powis Terrace, Colville Road and Colville Terrace, he also subdivided large properties into flats 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 was demolished in 1973–74 to make way for the Wessex Gardens estate. According to his biographer, Shirley Green, Rachman moved the protected tenants in a smaller concentration of properties or buying them out, in order to minimise the number of tenancies with statutory rent controls. Houses were also subdivided into a number of flats in order to increase the number of tenancies without rent controls. He then filled the properties with recent immigrants from the West Indies. Rachman's initial reputation, which he even promoted in the media, was as someone who could help to find and provide accommodation for immigrants. However, some suggested he was overcharging West Indians, as they did not have the same protection under the law as had the previous ones.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1948
    Age 29
    Rachman was eventually demobilized in 1948 and became a British resident.
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  • 1946
    Age 27
    After the war he stayed with his unit, which remained as an occupying force in Italy until 1946 when they transferred to Britain.
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  • 1941
    Age 22
    After the Germans declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941, Rachman and other Polish prisoners joined the 2nd Polish Corps and fought on behalf of the Allies in the Middle East and Italy.
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  • 1939
    Age 20
    After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Rachman may have joined the Polish resistance.
    More Details Hide Details He was first interned by the Germans and, after escaping across the Soviet border, was reinterned in a Soviet labour camp in Siberia and cruelly treated.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1919
    Age 0
    Rachman was born in Lwów, Poland, in 1919, the son of a Jewish dentist.
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