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Stourhead House Lillington Gardens Estate with Attached Public Library and Walls and Steps

A Grade II Listed Building in Mitcham, London

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Latitude: 51.4896 / 51°29'22"N

Longitude: -0.1346 / 0°8'4"W

OS Eastings: 529607

OS Northings: 178383

OS Grid: TQ296783

Mapcode National: GBR FN.Y6

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.MT6H

Plus Code: 9C3XFVQ8+R5

Entry Name: Stourhead House Lillington Gardens Estate with Attached Public Library and Walls and Steps

Listing Date: 20 December 2000

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1271208

English Heritage Legacy ID: 486940

Location: Westminster, London, SW1V

County: London

District: City of 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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Listing Text

1900/110/10245 (East,off)
20-DEC-00 Stourhead House Lillington Gardens Est
ate with attached public library and w
alls and steps


Block of 108 flats, seven shop units (some now combined as double units) and public library. 1969-74 by Darbourne and Darke for the City of Westminster. Red brick walls with concrete slab floors, exposed as painted bands, and roof. Roof clad in felt, painted white, with distinctive mansards of artificial slate and metal edges. Slabbed walkways and concrete and brick steps,. Complex scissor plan blocks, with maisonettes to front and back behind walled gardens, those to the rear set lower with extra kitchen and dining room; living rooms to both ranges face the street, and both have bedrooms on the garden elevations. Above them one bedroom and studio flats set off roof-top `street in the sky' (nos.67-108), some reached via external stairs, the larger units on two levels to garden front and with internal stairs. Stourhead rises to a maximum of eight storeys. Brick stairs lead to upper level containing nos.86-103. Maisonettes (nos. 63-66) set behind walled enclosures on first-floor over library, with nos.104-108 set above them.

Rear service windows to staircases with narrow windows containing louvres. Black timber doors, originals having glazed panels; aluminium sash windows in thick black timber surrounds. Interiors not inspected.

Seven shops, some now combined, were included in this part of the scheme, having been an important element in the original competition design. Public library incorporated at south end of this block, on two main public levels. Black timber doors and windows. The interior survives remarkably completely. Sections for children and young adults on gallery with black timber slat balustrade, which continues as handrail to staircase. Good original black timber bookshelves on both levels. Door of timber and glass with full-height vertical handle to children's library.

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

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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