The History Behind Hyelm - A London Company

Everything starts somewhere, right? Well, we started in 1926, with a man who saw the need to help young people wanting to move to London to work or study. I Philippa Norman 11/23/16

Everything starts somewhere, right? Well, we started in 1926, with a man who saw the need to help young people wanting to move to London to work or study. It has never been easy to move to the capital, London.gov has a monthly updated map showing the average rental prices in the different areas of London. Back in 2015 The Guardian was reporting the average rents in London hitting £1,500, and now we’re standing on the brink of 2017, they don’t seem likely to drop anytime soon.

Yet people are still determined to move to the capital and it’s unsurprising. London is a cosmopolitan city full of opportunities and experience. Many choose to move to London after their graduation because of the higher volume of jobs as well as the life on offer. It’s important that young people are able to move to the city in order to keep boosting the economy and contributing to the life of one of the oldest cities in the United Kingdom.

Hostels for Young Employees of Limited Means


Hyelm, standing for Hostels for Young Employees of Limited Means, was founded by the Guv. Known formally as Arthur J. West, the Guv made Hyelm his life’s work from 1926 onwards. He helped shape the charity and ran it right up until 1958. Hyelm began in Tufnell Park, North London, spread across several properties. During the 1950s a location move was necessitated by war damage and Hyelm moved to a large Victorian property in Hampstead.

During the 1970s, funded mainly by grants from the greater London Council, the Victorian property was demolished to make way for a purpose-built development. Arthur West House was born and would provide up to 233 residents with accommodation and facilities.

1996 saw Hyelm’s negotiation of a merger with Ames House which ensured both charities retained their separate legal entities. Ames House, also situated in Hampstead, provided housing and support for 25 young women and in 2004, was sold and a long-term lease of a portion of Arthur West House was procured with the proceeds from the sale.

In 2006 there was more activity! In the fashionable Old Street area of London a new property was built to provide modern accommodation for up to 125 young people. 2014 saw the sale of Arthur West House and now the proceeds are being used to provide more modern accommodation and facilities in areas of London that are seen as attractive to young people. This is an exciting time for Hyelm and we are still doing exactly what the man who founded Hyelm set out to do. Provide quality, reasonably priced, accommodation for young people of limited means to move to London before gaining their feet and being able to become independent in the city.

Our Future

We have grown as a charity, but our fundamental goal stays true to Arthur J West’s vision. We aim to provide an additional 250 person capacity accommodation in 2019 in our biggest plans yet. More than just a roof over someone’s head, our aim is to give people a positive environment in which to live and grow, and to contribute to the city we love. That’s why we re-invest all our profits back into Hyelm to constantly strive for improvement. If you like the sound of Hyelm why not find out more here.