Estates

The estates vary from proper Art Deco through to more Arts and Crafts style developments: the link at the moment is that they were all designed or built in the 1930s. I may weed out some but for the moment, the list is inclusive rather than reductive. There will be links to individual pages on each estate (in the menu, left) which will be added to during 2012. The list below this text shows those estates for which there is no page as yet.

We don’t design and develop market-price rented estates any more in the UK. Clearly, this is because people with a high enough income now want to owner-occupy: to do anything else is seen as un-English folly of the highest order. What these wonderful 1930s buildings remind us is that there used to be a particular kind of tenant, on a medium income, who demanded porterage, parking, perhaps a maid, and sometimes dining and sports facilities. The balcony or roof garden seemed to be of critical importance and a lot of care and detail was applied to them. Fitted furniture and wireless connections were new, but heating lagged behind and was often still achieved by coal fires, with a few estates being run on communal systems. The entrance hall to the block was a point of great celebration and gave tenants a feeling of communally shared grandeur and status.

In spite of the predominance of owner-occupation, I believe that there is a latent market in London for such market rented homes now. The biggest obstacle appears to be that the return on investment for funders is not adequate. I leave you with a quote from the Architects Journal of May 2nd 1935:


‘Perhaps not without truth has it been tersely said by those whose tastes lean towards a cottage and roses, that ‘a flat is no place for a child or dog’. Obviously there are occasions when the behaviour, or rather misbehaviour, of such important members of the community is likely to cause trouble in a restricted space. But with our towns year by year increasingly composed of buildings planned on cellular principles, either for work or dwelling, the flat, even when it masquerades as a ‘pseudo-home’, has come to stay.’