Tower Blocks

Tower Blocks

In May 1949, London's first ten-storey council housing block was opened in Holborn. In the 50 years since 1949, around 2,700 tower blocks have been built in Greater London. At the end of the 20th century, London had more multi-storey housing blocks than any other British city. It had the highest council tower block in Europe: the 31-storey Trellick Tower in Kensington, and the highest private tower block: the 43-storey Shakespeare Tower in the Barbican.

London's tower blocks have led the way nationally, during their period of popularity and their fall from favour. In the 1950s, the London County Council pioneered the construction of multi-storey blocks of flats and maisonettes as part of the post-war housing drive.

The rise and fall of London's tower blocks can be traced from the 1940s, starting with the national drive to build more homes as part of a better future for Britain. In 1943, The County of London Plan recommended high-rise housing, and in 1949 London's first ten-storey housing block opened in Holborn, Camden.

In 1953 London County Council built its first experimental 11-storey point block at the Ackroyden Estate in Richmond. In 1955, the council's Loughborough Estate in Lambeth pioneered maisonette slab blocks.

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