The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Press Release: Twentieth Century Society backs Cressingham Gardens listing bid

The Twentieth Century Society is supporting a local campaign to save a unique 1960s housing estate in Brockwell Park, South London, currently under threat from redevelopment plans.

English Heritage is now assessing the application made by residents to list Cressingham Gardens – built between 1967 and 1979 by the Lambeth Borough Architects Department, led by Edward Hollamby. Lambeth Council is looking at options for rebuilding the site, triggered by concerns over maintenance and repair costs.

“This estate is not just a strong candidate for listing – its a fantastic place to live”, said Henrietta Billings, Senior Conservation adviser, Twentieth Century Society. “The 1960s design – which is largely unaltered since it was built – responds to the landscape in a superbly subtle and sensitive way, and it gives residents a public realm that really works. The estate needs refurbishment and maintenance, not wholesale redevelopment,” she added.

The development is a range of accommodation from one bedroom bungalows to six person houses set along a series of paved pedestrian walkways and paths that meet at the central grassy plateau or ‘village green’. The houses, built from London stock brick are a variety of one to four storeys – each with their own private outdoor space.

A striking element of the estate is its thoughtful integration into the setting of Brockwell Park. It was purposefully designed as low rise to avoid any visual obtrusion on the views from the park, while ensuring that all residents would have close contact with the nearby open space.

During his career, Edward Hollamby acquired a reputation as a public servant who “believed not just in high quality architecture, but in the existence and nurturing of the public realm, of public architecture and civic design” (The Guardian, January 2000). While at Lambeth, Hollamby became known for his department’s design for ‘patio housing’.

He was a highly influential architect in London during the 1960s, well known for moving away from high rise tower
blocks and ‘walkways in the sky’ towards low rise ‘patio’ developments. In his obituary in The Guardian, Johnathan Glancey described him as a “champion of modern low rise estates built responsive to topography and local conditions”.


Notes to editors:

1. The Twentieth Century Society has recently run an architectural tour of Cressingham Gardens as part of themed study of Edward Hollamby’s work. The estate also hosted several visitors as part of the Open House weekend in September 2013.

2. There is a Rotunda in the centre of the development built as a children’s nursery. This deliberately sunken building, designed by Edward Hollamby was written up in the Architectural Review in 1979, and described as built with “fairground overtones of merry-go-rounds and bandstands”. The Rotunda, although in need of refurbishment is unaltered, and still used for playgroup and estate meetings.

3. More details on the local campaign to save Cressingham Gardens can be found on their facebook page.

For further information please contact Henrietta Billings, Senior Conservation Adviser, The Twentieth Century Society Tel: 020 7250 3857