Old Oak and Wormholt

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Bryony Road on the Wormholt Estate

The Old Oak and Wormholt estates are London County Council cottage estates constructed between 1912 and 1928. They were declared a conservation area in May 1980, the two estates were influenced by Ebenezer Howard's Garden city movement and the Arts and Crafts movement, which high quality external detailing and an open setting with privet hedges, front gardens and wide grass verges.[1]


The estates are in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, in the west of London, lying either side of the A40 Westway to the south of Wormwood Scrubs. To the east they are bounded by Old Oak Road and to the west partially by Bloemfontain Road, the southern boundary extends to include Wormholt Park. The London Underground Central line passes through the estates, the station is called East Acton tube station.


Braybrook Street on the Old Oak Estate

London County Council bought the 54 acres (22 ha) from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1905, 5 acres (2.0 ha) were resold to the Great Western Railway for the Ealing to Shepherds Bush branch line. The Old Oak estate was built in two phases: west of East Acton station and the railway in 1912–13, and east in 1920–23, the final fourteen houses were added in 1927.

The land for the Wormholt Estate was purchased from the same source in 1919; in 1926–28 LCC built 783 houses and Hammersmith Council added 500 houses on the adjoining 76 acres (31 ha). Plans for 37 shops were dropped but both the Hammersmith Open Air Swimming Pool and Wormholt Park were both constructed.[1]

The estates were designated conservation areas in May 1940. An Article 4 Direction, taking away certain PD Rights (permitted development rights) to preserve aspects of the character of the estate, has been issued.[1]


LCC Cottage estates 1918–1939
Estate name Area No of dwellings Population 1938 Population density
Norbury 11 218 867 19.8 per acre (49/ha)
Old Oak 32 736 3519 23 per acre (57/ha)
Totterdown Fields 39 1262 32.4 per acre (80/ha)
Tower Gardens
White Hart Lane
98 783 5936 8 per acre (20/ha)
Becontree 2770 25769[a] 115652 9.3 per acre (23/ha)
Bellingham 252 2673 12004 10.6 per acre (26/ha)
Castelnau 51 644 2851 12.6 per acre (31/ha)
Dover House Estate
Roehampton Estate
147 1212 5383 8.2 per acre (20/ha)
Downham 600 7096 30032 11.8 per acre (29/ha)
Mottingham 202 2337 9009 11.6 per acre (29/ha)
St Helier 825 9068 39877 11 per acre (27/ha)
Watling 386 4034 19110 10.5 per acre (26/ha)
Wormholt 68 783 4078 11.5 per acre (28/ha)
Chingford[b] 217 1540 7.1 per acre (18/ha)
Hanwell (Ealing) 140 1587 6732 11.3 per acre (28/ha)
Headstone Lane 142 n.a 5000
Kenmore Park 58 654 2078 11.3 per acre (28/ha)
(Royal Borough of Greenwich)
21 380 1598 18.1 per acre (45/ha)
Whitefoot Lane (Downham) 49 n.a n.a.
Source:*Yelling, J.A. (1995). "Banishing London's slums: The interwar cottage estates" (PDF). Transactions. London and Middlesex Archeological Society. 46: 167–173. Retrieved 19 December 2016.  Quotes: Rubinstein, 1991, Just like the country.
  1. ^ Source says 2589- transcription error
  2. ^ Part of a larger PRC estate around Huntsman Road

The estate was designed by the LCC's Architects' Department Housing of the Working Classes branch, particularly A S Soutar, F J Lucas, and J M Corment, using Hampstead Garden Suburb as a reference.[2] The Hampstead Garden Suburb Act 1906 had freed Raymond Unwin, the architect, from the gridiron street pattern imposed by the Public Health Act 1875, and this had been extended to all estates by the Town Planning Act 1909.

As planned the estate was to contain 1527 houses, referred to as cottages, built at a density of 27 per acre (67/ha), the first 304 cottages and five shops had been completed by January 1914, and the drainage and sewers laid for the rest when the war halted construction. .[2] Each of the cottages and maisonettes had a scullery and the WC but only the cottages of five and four rooms and 14 of the three-roomed cottages were fitted with baths.[3]

The cottages were built in small terraces from red brick, they shared a common style but were deliberately different from each other. The Arts and Crafts style was applied to the roofing; which predominantly was red tiles but from different sources to vary the texture. Some roofs used a hand made Belgian peg tile which is very difficult to match when repairs are needed.

The Conservation Areas Design guidelines explain that "privet hedging, grass verges, street trees and the provision of small cottage gardens" and "the widespread use of wooden mullioned window frames (both sash and casement), brick façades, pitched and gabled roofs, small dormers and panelled doors reinforce the cottage character of the estates".[1]

Article 4 Direction[edit]

There is requirement to obtain planning consent for proposed changes to:

  1. Roofs – form or materials
  2. Facades – Painting, rendering or cladding – removal or changes to the string courses or arches
  3. Existing rendering – any change of colour
  4. Proposed hardstanding for vehicles
  5. Porches
  6. Gates, Walls and hedges
  7. Extension
  8. Windows – form, colour or material
  9. Doorways

The presumption is always against change.

Trees are protected.[1]

See also[edit]

Totterdown Fields


  • Urban Design and Conservation Team. "Wormholt and Old Oak Design Guideline" (PDF). London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  • "The Old Oak Estate, Hammersmith". Municipal Dreams. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  • London County Council, Housing of the Working Classes, 1855–1912. London County Council. 1912. In Municipal Dreams, Old Oak Estate, January 2014 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′46″N 0°14′28″W / 51.5129°N 0.2412°W / 51.5129; -0.2412