Details

Keywords Change this

Forgotten Masterpieces, Housing Estate, Urban Planning, Ghetto

Project timeline

1969 – 1970

Type

Masterplan

Location Change this

Bow Area
London
United Kingdom

Also known as Change this

The Devons Estate

Architect Change this

Team

Tower Hamlets Council with the assistance of Greater London Council.

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Article last edited by Bostjan on
September 21st, 2017

The Crossways Estate Change this

London, United Kingdom
by John D. Hume, Kenneth Campbell Change this
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Description Change this

The Crossways estate (also known as the Devons Estate) is a 1970s council estate in the Bow area of London. When completed, it was known locally as the 'Pride of Bow' with its three 25 storey tower blocks. The estate comprises of three tower blocks, towering 25 storeys over the local area, and one low-rise block, providing a total of 298 homes. The development rests in a former railway cutting below the level of the surrounding streets and the towers are reached by a series of access bridges with 22 1 & 2 storey maisonettes (Holyhead Close) built over the DLR. Crossways estate was planned by the Tower Hamlets Council with the assistance of Greater London Council. Most likely John D. Hume was the borough architect and Planning Officer and Kenneth Campbell was the Principal Housing Architect for GLC. "Tower Hamlets appointed John D. Hume to the newly created post of Borough Architect and Planning Officer. He was a qualified architect and planner, with considerable experience in local authorities, and eventually, in 1973, his post was redesignated as Director of Development. Hume retired in October 1980."

The District Today

The district is today both in poor condition and a poor state of repair. It is unpopular with many existing and prospective residents. The bridges and walkways are the sole means of crossing the estate and what appears to be attractive and green open space below is a "no go" area for many residents. Almost half of the properties in each of the tower blocks are 3 bedroom family size units, including those on the higher floors, many of which contain families and overcrowding is a common issue. And while there is a nucleus of long-standing residents, over 40% of the rental stock in the tower blocks is either void or let as temporary placements by Homeless Services. If the properties were not used as temporary accommodation they would be very difficult to let. This has led to high levels of anti social behavior along with a general feeling of apathy towards the long term promises of regeneration which until recently have yet to materialize.

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