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Parkinson House

A Grade II* Listed Building in City of Westminster, Westminster

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Latitude: 51.4906 / 51°29'26"N

Longitude: -0.1359 / 0°8'9"W

OS Eastings: 529516

OS Northings: 178498

OS Grid: TQ295784

Mapcode National: GBR FM.NT

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.LSJN

Plus Code: 9C3XFVR7+6M

Entry Name: Parkinson House

Listing Date: 22 December 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1246694

English Heritage Legacy ID: 472003

Location: Tachbrook, Westminster, London, SW1V

County: Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: Tachbrook

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St James the Less Pimlico

Church of England Diocese: London

Find accommodation in


(north east side)

109/10139 Parkinson House


Block of one hundred bedsit flats. Design won in competition in 1961 by John Darbourne, this block detailed and built 1967-70 (phase II) by Darbourne and Geoffrey Darke for Westminster City Council. In-situ reinforced concrete beams and floors, exposed on the elevations and projecting balconies, and load-bearing brick crosswalls. Elevations of multi-red hand-made facing bricks, with raked joints. Flat felted roof. Complex plan. Most of the block is five storeys, rising to seven storeys at end where abuts Tachbrook Street. Bedsits arranged in two rows either side of broad, stepped access gallery that forms street on upper levels. Many flats arranged in pairs, forming a distinctive pattern on northern front to main gardens. Between these groupings are openings, lighting the access galleries. Single row of bedsits only on lower ground floor, the land rising on other side. Staircase and lift at each end of block. Elevation to Tachbrook Street four bedsits wide, the outer two flats a half-level higher than inner pair. Each bedsit has its own store, with separate external door. The stepped profile of this block is particularly distinctive, within the Lillington Gardens idiom, particularly in the way many of the flats are set in pairs. These form an alternating line of windows and open (but not projecting) balconies. Projecting staircase on garden end. To Tachbrook Street a strong, symmetrical composition of alternating windows and balconies at contrasting half levels. This higher end of Parkinson House is a high, formal intrusion into the long, organically planned line of Forsyth and Stourhead Houses that run the length of Tachbrook Street. Narrow entrance to internal streets below. Dark stained timber double-glazed windows (original), with vertical opening casements. All doors originally also of black stained timber, and most remain. Public spaces lined with brick paviours, the rooftop street decks with non-slip tiles. Original metal signage of black lettering on silvered backgrounds. Interiors not of special interest. John Darbourne won a competition for the rebuilding of Lillington Street in 1961, and formed a partnership with Geoffrey Darke to develop the scheme. The design of Lillington took its cue from the important (grade I listed) Church of St James the Less, with its striking Victorian red brick, which the estate surrounds. Architects like James Stirling and James Gowan at Ham Common, Richmond; Leslie Martin at Cambridge University and Basil Spence at Sussex University, Brighton, had begun to explore ways of using a combination of brick and concrete, but not on such a scale or with such intensity of colour or complexity of form. Martin and his proteges had also begun to theorise on the possibilities of low-rise high-density housing in their Bloomsbury project and in their college work at Cambridge, but Lillington was the first low-rise high-density public housing scheme to be built.
As the first low-rise high-density scheme, Lillington Gardens was epoch making. 'The blocks are more reminiscent of the college campus than of municipal tenements' (Architects' Journal, 1 July 1970). It influenced the style of council housing from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s. 'An elegant and exciting environment for young and old' (The Times, 13 September 1972).

Listing NGR: TQ2951678498

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