Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Lewisham (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 38001 72290


TQ 3872 LEWISHAM BROMLEY ROAD (North East side) 779/33/10066 Passfields

Nos.1-65 (Consecutive)


Block of 24 maisonettes, five bedsits and 36 one-bedroom flats. 1949-50 by Fry, Drew and Partners, job architect J B Shaw, for Lewisham Metropolitan Borough. Ove Arup and Partners, engineers. Reinforced concrete box frame of complex formation, adapted to short spans on difficult, stripped foundations, and expressed externally as groups of balconies. The facades are clad in yellow brick; flat roof behind deep projecting eaves. L-shaped block of two distinct halves, both of five storeys. The longer and most prominent part of the development is curved, with two rows of two-storey maisonettes set over one bedroom flats on ground floor. All units save those at southern end set in pairs. The maisonettes reached by access galleries to rear. At end of this range a way through to rear playground, next to workshop and office. In corner of block a lift and stairs set in long hall, with projecting single storey former laundry and boiler room. The short arm of the block a more complex arrangement of one-bedroom flats and bedsits, all those on upper levels with balconies and served by short gallery at rear. Elevations remarkable for the treatment of the balconies. The main elevation of the long wing has five sets of paired balconies, set in extended concrete box which forms a frame round the first, second and third storeys, each thus joining four balconies. Set back drying areas on second and fourth floor a contrast to these projections. Metal windows with opening casements an important feature of the design, set within concrete sills and lintels. At corner, fully glazed staircase tower with square panels. Short wing with projecting balconies all set in pairs. At end a blue plaque commemorates the estate's Festival of Britain Merit Award, 1951. Windows on side elevations in concrete surrounds. Rear elevations similar, with similar fenestration, the galleries set within the line of the block behind rectangular openings with framed surrounds. Projecting balconies serve as drying areas. Cantilevered balconies at the corner of the block set at angle have a delightful virtuosity. Interiors of flats interesting in plan, and retain some picture rails and many original doors. One important feature of the development is the specially designed street lighting attached to the walls of the block. HISTORY Maxwell Fry was one of the pioneer designers of low-cost flats in the 1930s. This is the most important development of public housing produced by him and his partners in the post-war period. ASSESSMENT It is significant, too, as an early and particularly inventive example of the use of the box frame construction evolved by Ove Arup during the Second World War. The use of a curve is seen at Spa Green in LB Islington, but not the expression of the box frame as part of a projecting pattern of balconies. This is a rich and complex development that thoroughly deserved its Festival of Britain Award. Nikolaus Pevsner considered that its 'greater diversity of small motifs' was its great difference from Fry's pre-war work and that it was 'one of the most interesting recent groups of flats in London'. This block is of especial significance in being one of the earliest to incorporate maisonettes; De Quincey House in Churchill Gardens is often said to have been the first but Passfields was completed a year earlier. The four blocks of Passfields form a harmonious group, enhanced by its excellent state of preservation and landscaping.

Listing NGR: TQ3800172290


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: London Except the Cities of London and Westminster, (1952), 293
'Architect and Building News' in 19 January, (1951), 62-72
'Architects Journal' in 8 February, (1951), 183-90
'Architectural Review' in January, (1951), 7-15
'Architectural Design and Consruction' in January, (1951), 18-21


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 30 Nov 2006
Reference: IOE01/16187/29
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Richard M. Brown. Source Historic England Archive
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