Thursday, 12 July 2012

Housing estates, old and older

Has anyone been watching the BBC program "The Secret History of our Streets?" Last night was about Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, somewhere I have always found fascinating to walk around. The program informed us that Arnold Circus (now grade II listed) was The first housing estate in the UK, although failed in that it couldn't afford to house the areas poorest of poor.

There still seems to be quite a community feel in Arnold circus though, despite the obvious changes in the area. I have yet to catch a band at the band stand in the summer, which looks great. 

Arnold Circus 1901 more fascinating pictures here.

On a slightly different note, I love a bit of 60's architecture and the fact it causes so much debate.
My sister, Alice told me about the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate she lives near, and I was intrigued. I now walk past the estate every day on my way to work so have done a bit of research. See their community website for more information.

images from Open Buildings

They have a great website with a brilliant film made by the residents. "it's great, apart from the dog shit' is all one resident had to say. As with most of the housing architecture of the time, it was a bit of a social experiment, so there are some elements that fail and some that don't.


  1. I remember the first time me and Helen stumbled upon Arnold Circus
    when we lived in Parfit Street in Whitechapel and Brick Lane was our regular
    hunting spot for interesting stuff on a Sunday morning it was a real surprise I never new it was a housing estate .

    Dad x

    1. You should watch it then, you would love it! The whole series has been really good, but that one so far the best as I know the area so well.



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