The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

269 Leigham Court Road

Listing recommendation on modernist sheltered housing scheme nears completion

English Heritage has confirmed that it will be sending its advice on whether or not to list 269 Leigham Court Road, Streatham in south London to the Secretary of State this month. The 1970s modernist sheltered housing complex is due to be sold off for housing development by Lambeth Council, and English Heritage has been assessing the site since a spot listing application was submitted to protect it from demolition.

“This is well detailed, highly humane and user responsive architecture,” said Catherine Croft, Director of Twentieth Century Society. “There is a huge need for this type of housing and for good examples of how to provide imaginatively for care of the elderly. It would be a tragic loss if it was not listed and demolished,” added Croft.

Designed in 1968-72 and built in within the former garden of a Victorian villa, the 44 flat development is a series of sculptural concrete low rise blocks, staggered either side of a central covered walkway. The Twentieth Century Society strongly supports an application by Docomomo  to list the complex at grade II – and we have written to English Heritage to express our views.

The scheme was designed Kate MacIntosh at Lambeth’s Architect’s Department, and was the first development in the borough to use wholly metric dimensions.  The seven blocks appear as a series of cubes with chunks taken out of the corners and sides to create setbacks for balconies, stairwells, patios. The external walling is fair faced concrete block and the windows and doors are dark stained timber.

The scheme provides accommodation for up to 76 people and a warden, arranged as five identical and two atypcial two storey flat roofed blocks. The spaces between the blocks are informal garden courtyards, and all the flats have private open space – a balcony for those on the first floor, a patio at ground floor level.

The complex is popular with residents and visitors alike; almost 400 people have signed a petition set up to save the building – signatories include former RIBA presidents and vice presidents Jack Pringle, Angela Brady and Bob Giles as well as a series of renowned architects such as Owen Luder, Sarah Wigglesworth and Peter Aldington.

For further information, please contact Henrietta Billings, senior conservation adviser, Twentieth Century Society at or 020 7250 3857.