UPDATE 25/4/18: I’m not convinced the programme makers have correctly described the layout of the “scissor” flats in this block. If you live there or know someone who does please leave a comment underneath this article.


BBC/Oxford Film and Television/Lorian Reed-Drake

“I want to discover how the high-rise flat became the answer to Britain’s post-war housing crisis and why this modern way of living became loathed and loved in almost equal measure”

In weeks gone by the series has looked at the Medieval cottage and then the C19th terraced house. This week the final part takes us firmly into the C20th with concrete rather than brick construction and multi-storey towers replacing houses with gardens.

On Youtube here The Flat

The Lincoln Estate in Bromley by Bow, East London, designed in the late 1950s and opened in the early 60s, is the subject of this week’s film and has at its heart two 19 storey blocks of flats.

Tower blocks in the UK resulted from the influence of continental Modernism and this is explored in some detail, with Le Corbusier and his Unité D’Habitation discussed.

The blocks were designed by David Gregory-Jones and colleagues at the London County Council architects’ department, once the largest in Europe and responsible for much of the public housing built in London during the 1950s and 60s. They designed the scissor section flat derived from the Unité and used in several high rise blocks in London, including Sleaford and Gayton Houses on the Lincoln Estate.

The landmark Parker Morris report of 1961 set the standards followed during the 1960s and 1970s until being abandoned in the housing act of 1980 by Mrs Thatcher. The flats are large and well lit and follow the recommendations of the eponymous report.

This fascinating programme is well worth watching and will be broadcast at 2100 on June 2nd on BBC4.

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