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1950s British Social Housing

Below is a selection of British social housing from the 1950s.

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Phase I, Priory Green Estate (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Collier Street, Finsbury, London, seen in its urban context

RIBA2929-28
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1955. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: Chaucer House and the heat-accumulator seen from across the Thames

RIBA3811
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962. The heat-accumulator was used to store the hot water brought in a tunnel below the river from Battersea power station for the district heating scheme.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: Keats House and Shelley House, seen from Grosvernor Road

RIBA5175
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: view showing the triaxial plan form of the spiral staircase of Bevin Court

RIBA5251
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution. See RIBA141108 for negative verson of this image.

Phase 1, Priory Green Estate (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Collier Street, Finsbury, London: view from the south-east of three of the four parallel four-storey blocks showing the chequer motif facades

RIBA17130
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1955. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Phase 1, Priory Green Estate (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Collier Street, Finsbury, London: Kendal House, the principal block

RIBA17131
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1957. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: close-up of a facade

RIBA24136
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun. The distinctive balconies were designed by Denys Lasdun.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: a five-storey block

RIBA25793
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: an eight-storey block under construction

RIBA25797
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: view over the estate from a balcony

RIBA25798
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: corner detail

RIBA25799
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: close-up of a pylon

RIBA25800
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun.

Hallfield Estate, Bishop's Bridge Road, Paddington, London: access stairs to the eight-storey block

RIBA25801
Drake & Lasdun
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan which was developed and executed by Drake & Lasdun. This block was designed by Berthold Lubetkin.

Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the terraces of four-storey maisonettes along Danebury Avenue

RIBA26230
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the terraces of four-storey maisonettes along Ibsley Gardens

RIBA26232
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the eleven-storey maisonette slabs

RIBA26234
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: the eleven-storey point blocks

RIBA26238
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: view across the estate from the access deck of a maisonette slab

RIBA26242
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES; The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: two of the staircase bays on the east facade of Chaucer house with the heat-accumulator behind

RIBA26248
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: Lupus Street facade of De Qunicey House seen from the south-west

RIBA26268
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: the last section of the eastern end of the site, seen from Grosvenor Road

RIBA26276
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: mural depicting Finsbury's history and coat of arms by Peter Yates in Bevin Court

RIBA28027
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Phase 1, Priory Green Estate (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Collier Street, Finsbury, London: the communal laundry and boiler house

RIBA28327
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1955. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Model of first scheme for the Priory Green Estate (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Finsbury, London

RIBA28330
Tecton
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. This, the original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1955. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Design for a housing scheme at Holford Square, Finsbury, London: plan

RIBA32534
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Alton Estate, Roehampton, London: aerial view

RIBA33550
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: view of the staggered terrace of houses with twelve-storey point blocks in the background

RIBA34554
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Model of the Priory Green housing scheme (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Finsbury, London: aerial view of the estate

RIBA36193
Franck, Carl Ludwig Philipp (1904-1985)
NOTES: This image is one of a number illustrating designs for concrete crosswall constructions. Berthold Lubetkin's initial designs for The Priory Green Estate (originally known as the Busaco Street Estate) date from 1937 while he was part of the Tecton Group. The outbreak of World War II delayed the project however and work on the redesigned estate resumed in 1943 with the scheme reaching completion in 1957.

Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: one of the eleven-storey point blocks

RIBA42363
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Phase 1, Priory Green Estate (formerly known as the Busaco Street Estate), Collier Street, Finsbury, London: a row of eight-storey blocks with Kendal House in the foreground

RIBA49511
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1957. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: the central spiral staircase of Bevin Court

RIBA49553
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Priory Green Estate extension (now Priory Heights), Wynford Street, Finsbury, London: the spiral staircase

RIBA55978
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1957. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the point blocks

RIBA59321
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimilico, London: the garden for one of the houses

RIBA74104
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London

RIBA74129
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: the children's playground with the heat-accumulator behind

RIBA74130
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: a terrace of houses in Norley Vale

RIBA75080
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the old people's dwellings with the slab blocks behind

RIBA75081
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: one of the maisonette blocks

RIBA75097
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: Lowther House, Phase IV

RIBA75101
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: model of the final scheme, showing Bevin Court and Holford House

RIBA81833
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: Bevin Court

RIBA81834
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: the entrance to Bevin Court

RIBA81837
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Designs for Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: site layout showing site divided into 4 phased sections

RIBA94008
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.

Priory Green Estate extension (now Priory Heights), Wynford Street, Finsbury, London: close-up of the masionette balconies of the three-storey Calshott House

RIBA49522
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Designed by Tecton in parallel with the Spa Green Estate, Priory Green was actually completed somewhat later by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin in 1943-1957. The original design, part of a larger plan conceived before the war in 1937, was modified to take account of the changed post-war situation. The site, which originally was very small, was enlarged by bomb damage but at the same time the Council's housing fund suffered from cuts in government subsidies and Priory Green was denied the money available to the development at Spa Green. Rosebery Avenue opened in 1949 and the first stage of the estate was completed in 1952 consisting of 269 flats in the two eight-storey blocks and the four four-storey blocks. The third eight-storey block, community centre and public house were completed c. 1957. The scheme as first conceived was part of a unified programme that it was hoped would transform Finsbury and alleviate its appalling housing and social problems. The coherence of the strategy, however, was destroyed by changes in personnel in the Council and by post-war austerity.

Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: Bevin Court looking towards the new extension, Amwell House

RIBA49551
Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin
NOTES: Tecton were responsible for the masterplan, which was given Town Planning consent in 1948, and Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin were responsible for its development and execution.

Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: one of the maisonette blocks

RIBA52857
London County Council. Architects Department
NOTES: The Alton Estate is situated between Putney Heath and Richmond Park in south-west London. The smaller south-east part, Alton East, was built in 1952-1955, while the much larger north-west part, Alton West, was built in 1955-1959.

Terraced housing, Paxton Terrace, Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London

RIBA55184
Powell & Moya
NOTES: This, the largest housing scheme by Westminster City Council, was built in four sections between 1946 and 1962.
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