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Cheltenham Estate, Kensington and Chelsea

Description: Cheltenham Estate

Grade: II
Date Listed: 13 November 2012
Building ID: 1402356

OS Grid Reference: TQ2467681956
OS Grid Coordinates: 524633, 181954
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5228, -0.2049

Locality: Kensington and Chelsea
County: Greater London Authority
Postcode: W10 5XB

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Listing Text


Housing estate comprising terraced houses, flats and maisonettes, forming part of the Cheltenham Estate. 1969-73 by Ernö Goldfinger for the Greater London Council.

Reason for Listing

The Cheltenham Estate is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a late exemplar of a mixed development housing scheme designed by Ernö Goldfinger (1902-87), a major figure in post-war British architecture. It is highly accomplished in both design and execution, the boldly expressed cross walls and horizontal concrete bands providing a strong and consistent aesthetic throughout;
* Materials and craftsmanship: the estate as whole is the best crafted example of a mixed development scheme of any date, exhibiting the rigorous attention to detail that is a hallmark of Goldfinger’s best work. Despite increasing restrictions on public spending, the lower blocks were finished to the exemplary standard seen at Trellick Tower, with the same immaculately detailed bush-hammered concrete and high-quality brickwork;
* Group value: the houses and flats form an integral part of the original design and have a strong visual as well as social unity with Trellick Tower, listed Grade II*; the scheme as a whole ranks among Goldfinger’s finest works.


The Cheltenham Estate stands on an 11-acre site between the Grand Union canal to the north, the Paddington main line to the south, and the Great Western Road to the east, an area previously occupied by late-C19 terraced houses. In 1963 the London County Council declared the houses in and adjoining Edenham Street as unfit for habitation, and they were compulsorily purchased for redevelopment as part of the Kensal New Town Comprehensive Development Area. From the early 1960s, the LCC and its successor, the Greater London Council (GLC), sought to increase production of public housing by employing private architectural practices for some of their smaller schemes. The Hungarian émigré architect Ernö Goldfinger (1902-88) was appointed in 1961 to a list of approved architects for LCC housing schemes, continued after 1965 by the GLC. Goldfinger, who had previously designed two schools for the LCC, was engaged to design two estates: Brownfield, Poplar (1965), and Edenham Street, Kensington (1967). The Edenham Street or Cheltenham Estate, as it soon became known, was built 1969-73, providing a total of 317 dwellings, comprising the 31-storey Trellick Tower, five terraces of houses, two six-storey blocks of flats and maisonettes, plus an old people’s home (now demolished). A nursery was located in the tower and a community centre in one of the lower blocks. An underground garage with a raised roof garden has been removed. Four acres of the site were designated as open space. The Trellick Tower was built 1968-72; the remainder of the housing from 1969-71 with the exception of Nos. 51-80 and 81-86 Edenham Way, postponed until 1972-3 while a road closure order was obtained for Kensal Road.

In planning terms, Cheltenham Estate followed the pattern of ‘mixed development’ projected in the County of London Plan of 1943 by Patrick Abercrombie and JH Forshaw and favoured by the LCC in the decade 1955-65. Comprising separate blocks of contrasting height with open space in between, this was the key estate type of the early post-war decades.


MATERIALS: brick cross-wall construction with concrete floors, finished in buff brick with bull-nose corners. Slate roofs to houses. Grey brick garden walls.

The buildings comprise five terraces of houses and two blocks of flats.

HOUSES: the terraces are aligned north-south and comprise four parallel rows of seven houses: Nos. 1-13; 2-14; 87-99 and 88-100, and one row of six houses: Nos. 81-86 which stands to the north-east of the site in alignment with Nos. 88-100. All are three storeys high with an integral garage at the front and a rear garden enclosed by a brick wall with a timber gate. The concrete floor is exposed as a bush-hammered frieze above the ground floor, above which the facades are clad in painted plywood panels (a number have been replaced). The brick party walls are also expressed externally, projecting beyond the floors, with bull-nosed bricks. Upper floors originally had square pivoting windows, the rear ground-floor kitchens with full-height sliding doors. A number have now been replaced. Other alterations include the addition of metal balconets and a small number of rear extensions (not of special interest). The roofs have an asymmetrical profile with staggered double-pitch and clerestory along the east side. The terraces follow two standard plans: Type J (Nos. 1-13 and 87-99), with east access and Type K (the remainder), with west access. They differ externally in that the garages of the Type J terraces project further beyond the façade, while the façades of the rear ground-floor rooms are recessed. Nos. 81-86 differ in that the houses are stepped in pairs to follow the site’s incline, and the party walls are stepped out in a scallop profile towards the base.

The internal plan comprised a garage, entrance hall and dining kitchen at ground floor, a large living room and bedroom at first, and two bedrooms and bathroom above. The staircase is placed axially between the front and rear rooms. The plan is not mirrored (the conventional arrangement for opposing terraces); the deeper half of the house, containing the living room, is placed on the western side in each terrace, and the clerestory lighting the stair on the east, to maximise daylight (this explains why the garages are brought further out in the east-facing houses). The interiors are notable mainly for their top-lit stairs with sloping roofs. Only two interiors were inspected, which retain original joinery such as flush built-in cupboards and doors, steel door and window furniture, and stairs with a timber balustrade. The special interest of the houses resides primarily in their external architectural quality however.

Nos. 15-50 Edenham Way. A six-storey L-shaped block of 36 flats, with six flats per floor accessed from concrete balconies at the rear (north). The lift tower is placed at the external angle of the L, with vertical glazing. The concrete floors are exposed as bush-hammered bands to each storey; concrete parapet and flat roofs. The front elevations of the flats, facing west or south, have a full-height timber window with a central pivoting light and a narrower top and bottom light, and a recessed balcony set behind a steel balustrade. Cantilevered concrete access balconies to rear with bush-hammered faces and metal windows. Interiors not inspected.

Nos. 51-80 Edenham Way. Six storeys high, comprising 30 flats and maisonettes and a community hall. The ground and first floors are maisonettes with gardens enclosed by grey brick walls; above are five flats per floor, arranged asymmetrically to either side of a deeply recessed lift tower and a flat-roofed first-floor community room which projects over the entrance, a simplified version of that over the entrance to Trellick Tower. The concrete floors are exposed as projecting bush-hammered bands to each storey, the brick cross walls between each flat are also expressed externally, projecting beyond the floors. The front elevations of the flats have a full-height timber window with a central pivoting light and narrower top and bottom lights, plus a square window set in a ply-wood clad wall. The roof has a concrete parapet. The community room is faced in bush-hammered concrete and has a continuous band of metal mullioned windows. Rear elevation faced in brick. Concrete canopies to maisonette entrances; above this are cantilevered concrete access balconies with bush-hammered faces and metal windows. Timber glazed doors (some replaced) with glazed margin lights. Only one flat interior was inspected which retains original joinery, steel door and window furniture and flush built-in cupboards. The special interest of the flats resides primarily in their external architectural quality however.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.