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Exbury House Lillington Gardens Estate with Attached Walls and Steps

A Grade II Listed Building in City of Westminster, Westminster

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Latitude: 51.4899 / 51°29'23"N

Longitude: -0.134 / 0°8'2"W

OS Eastings: 529648

OS Northings: 178422

OS Grid: TQ296784

Mapcode National: GBR GN.22

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.MTJ7

Plus Code: 9C3XFVQ8+XC

Entry Name: Exbury House Lillington Gardens Estate with Attached Walls and Steps

Listing Date: 20 December 2000

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1246743

English Heritage Legacy ID: 486936

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

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1900/110/10256 (Northwest,off)
20-DEC-00 Exbury House Lillington Gardens Estate
with attached walls and steps


Terrace of eight maisonettes. 1969-72 by Darbourne and Darke for the City of Westminster. Red brick walls with concret slab floors, exposed as painted bands, and roof. Roof clad in asphalt or felt with chippings, with distinctive mansard of artificial slate and metal edges. Complex scissor plan blocks, with maisonettes to east and west behind walled gardens, nos.1-4 with extra kitchen dining room set under the bedrooms of both ranges, nos. 5-8 set behind with living room and kitchen on ground level, and the living room to nos. 1-4 above. Aluminium sash windows in black stained timber surrounds, with black doors, some partly glazed. The garden walls are an integral part of the design, which forms the low centrepiece of this area of the estate. Interiors not inspected.

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. The first phases of Lillington pioneered low-rise high-density solutions for public housing; Darbourne rejected the symmetrical, free-standing block in favour of a more contextual iconography in which each resident would have a distinctive element with which the tenants could associate themselves. The development was successful and award winning from the first, and was widely imitated.

For the third phase, Lillington 3, however, the architects revised their original designs to introduce more maisonettes for families with their own front door. In the revised scheme nearly half the units have a front door and small garden at ground level, and there is more private than public open space. Stylistically, too, there is a difference, as here was first introduced the slate mansards that were such a feature of their later Marquess Estate at Islington. As the Architects' Journal for 1 October 1969 recognised, the revised plans allowed for this considerable family accommodation at densities of 255 persons per acre. The Times for 13 September 1972 considered it `an elegant and exciting environment for young and old.' Lillington 3 perhaps spawned even more imitations than the original scheme, not least by Darbourne and Darke themselves. `Darbourne and Darke have pioneered a new view of living in the public housing sector. It could be argued that what they have done is to middle-classify the council house, but there is more to their achievement than that. Their approach should be seen as an expression of the idea that the egalitarian society is more easily realised by building on the "middle class" than it is by building on the old notion of the "working class"', wrote Colin Amery and Lance Wright in 1978. Lillington 3 won an RIBA Commendation in 1973.

Architects' Journal, 1 October 1969, pp.806-9
The Times, 13 September 1972
Amery and Wright, The Architecture of Darbourne and Darke, 1978

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