Great Arthur House, Golden Lane Estate, City of London, Greater London

At the end of WW2 the area between St Paul's and the City lay devastated. The County of London Plan decided on mixed commercial use with some housing for the small number of people who worked in the City. The brief was for 940 one, two, three or four room flats at the maximum possible density of 200 persons to the acre. To achieve this many of the smaller flats had to be in a high tower. Great Arthur House was built in 1953-7 from reinforced concrete. The 17 floor building was the first to break the London County Council's 100 ft height restriction and was briefly the tallest inhabited building in England. The flats were designed for single people and couples such as nurses and policemen who had to live near their work. The architects for the estate were Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. They saw it as a purely urban scheme, formal in layout but creating a sense of place by using colour. Their philosophy was to use every inch of space and provide a wide range of facilities on the site, also to separate pedestrians from traffic. They based this vision on the work of Le Corbusier. The Golden Lane estate eventually contained 1400 flats and maisonettes, a swimming pool, badminton court, bowling green, nursery, playground, community centre, shops and a pub. The estate was popular with professionals such as doctors and is still a self-sufficient ‘urban village’. It is seen as the most successful of England's housing developments from the early 1950s.


Greater London City of London


1950s (1950 - 1959)


council housing flat estate urban architecture 1950s (1950 - 1959)