Golden Lane Estate
The Golden Lane Estate is a notable 1950s council housing complex in the City of London. It was built on the northern edge of the City, in an area devastated by bombing during World War II; the proposal for a residential site to the north of Cripplegate, following destruction by German bombing of much of the City of London in the Blitz during World War II. Only around 500 residents remained in the City in a mere 50 of whom lived in Cripplegate; the brief was to provide general needs council housing for the many people who serviced or worked in the City, as part of the comprehensive recovery and re-building strategy of the City of London. As the Estate fell within the boundary of the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury, a proportionate number of tenancies were offered to those on the Finsbury waiting list. A boundary change in 1994 means; the competition for designs was announced in 1951. At a time when post WW II recovery was still slow, the rare opportunity for architects in private practice to design such an estate attracted a lot of entries.
The competition was covered in the popular press. The partnership of Chamberlin and Bon was formed when Geoffry Powell won the competition to build the estate on 26 February 1952; the three partners-to-be of Chamberlin and Bon were all lecturers in architecture Kingston School of Art and had entered into an agreement that if any one of them won the competition, they would share the commission. The competition was assessed by Donald McMorran, who designed housing for the Corporation of London. An entry from Alison and Peter Smithson received press coverage at the time. Compared to other council housing of the era, there was a greater emphasis on the housing needs of single people and couples rather than families with children. Studios and one bedroomed flats comprise the majority of the 554 units; the density at 200 person per acre was high, but 60% of the area of the site is open space, a figure made possible by building taller structures than was common in 1951. The site had been occupied since the mid 19th century by small Victorian industries and businesses metal working.
Some of the basements of the bombed buildings were retained as sunken areas of landscaping. It was designed by architects Chamberlin and Bon, who designed the adjacent Barbican Estate. Golden Lane Estate was commissioned and paid for by the City of London, who remain freeholders of the site and act as managers; the Estate has been within the political boundary of the City of London since 1994, following boundary changes lobbied for by residents. However, it is distinguished from the bulk of the City of London, today the non-residential European financial services capital; the first phase of the estate was opened in 1957, as stated on the commemorative stone on Bowater House. Before completion, the estate was enlarged to the west as more land was acquired, with three buildings added later: Cullum Welch House, Hatfield House and Crescent House; the increased site permitted a recreation building, bowling green and other facilities to be added. The Estate was completed in 1962. A documentary'Top People' outlining the development of the area was made by the Rank Organisation as one of its'Look at Life' documentaries.
When completed the estate attracted more publicity than the architectural competition, being viewed as a symbol of post-war recovery. It was photographed and written about featuring in various newsreel reports; the maisonette blocks are faced with panels in primary colours. Bush-hammered concrete occurs less than in the Barbican. However, some of the concrete surfaces which are today painted - for example on the narrow elevations of Great Arthur House - were unpainted but coated when they suffered early on from staining and streaking from iron pyrites in the aggregate. Inside, most maisonettes display open tread cast terrazzo staircases projecting from the party walls as a cantilever. This, the fact that the bedrooms are suspended, structurally speaking, without supports over the living rooms gives compact planning with a spacious feel to small flats, in spite of the fact that they were built under severe Government building restrictions of the post WW II years; the engineer was Felix Samuely.
Some maisonettes retain their hour-glass shaped hot-water radiators, visible in windows. Crescent House, the last of the blocks to be completed in 1962 and the largest, runs along Goswell Road. Designed by the firm's assistant architect and draughtsman Michael Neylan, it shows a tougher aesthetic that the architects were developing at the adjacent Barbican scheme, the earliest phases of which were by on site; the architects kept to their brief of providing the high density within the 7 acres available. The visual anchor of the design is the tower block of one-bedroomed flats, Great Arthur House, which provides a vertical emphasis at the centre of the development and, at 16 storeys, was on completion the tallest residential building in Britain, it was the first residential tower block in London, over 50 metres in height, the first building to breach the 100 foot height limit in the City of London. The names of structures on the Estate are a mixture of references to historic site features and individuals associated with the City of London.
Hatfield House is named after Hatfield Street which ran off Goswell Road and was laid out at a date after Faithorne and Newcourt's map of London of 1658 Gt Arthur House takes its name from Gt Arthur Street which ran between Goswell Road (
London Borough of Hounslow
The London Borough of Hounslow is a London borough in West London, forming part of Outer London. It was created in 1965 when three smaller Middlesex council areas amalgamated under the London Government Act 1963, it is governed by Hounslow London Borough Council. The borough stretches from near Central London in the east to the border with Surrey in the west, covering Chiswick, Isleworth and Feltham; the Borough is home to the London Museum of Water & Steam and the attractions of Osterley Park, Gunnersbury Park, Syon House, Chiswick House. Moreover, landmarks straddling the border of Hounslow include; the borough's area is quarter parkland. Large areas of London's open space fall within its boundaries, including Chiswick House and Gardens, Gunnersbury Park, Syon Park, Osterley Park, Hounslow Heath, Avenue Park in Cranford; the borough's predominant land use is residential, with a large, commercial town centre of Hounslow. Other large town centres include Chiswick and Brentford. Business is focused on retail.
Parts of the Borough. With other areas such as Hounslow and Heston being more affordable; the borough is home to the headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline and Sky plc, both based in Brentford's'Golden Mile' stretch of the A4 Great West Road, several supermarket outlets once known across the globe for its cluster of factories and offices, is going under extensive re developments in the form of new apartment blocks and offices. Fuller's Griffin Brewery is in the borough, in Chiswick. Aston Martin were based in Feltham for several years before moving to Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. DHL Air UK has its head office in Hounslow. Air France-KLM's head office for United Kingdom and Ireland operations, which includes facilities for Air France and KLM, is located in Plesman House in Hatton Cross in the borough; the Plesman House, outside of Terminal 4 of London Heathrow Airport, has the UK commercial team, sales team, support team. Sega Europe has its head office in Brentford. Menzies Aviation has its head office by the airport in Feltham.
JCDecaux UK has its head office in Brentford. Before winding-up British Mediterranean Airways was headquartered at Hetherington House near London Heathrow Airport A 2017 study by Trust for London and New Policy Institute found that pay inequality in Hounslow is the second largest of any London borough, it found that 25% people in Hounslow live in poverty, lower than the London-wide poverty rate of 27%. 53.3% of the borough's population is White, 34.4% is Asian, 11.6% is Black. The Borough has a high ethnic diversity in the central parts of the borough with the majority of the White British population residing in the eastern and western parts of the borough. In terms of religion, 42% identify themselves as Christian, 14% Muslim, 10.3% Hindu, 9% Sikh, 1.4% Buddhist and 0.3% Buddhist, 18% of the population are not religious.. At 9%, Hounslow has the largest proportion of Sikhs in London, the third-highest in England before Slough and Wolverhampton; the following table shows the ethnic group of respondents in the 2011 census in Hounslow.
Main Article: Hounslow parks and open spaces Major parks and recreational spaces include. Parks that are a short distance from Hounslow's border are; the River Thames forms the natural boundary between Richmond-upon-Thames. It runs through the borough at Chiswick and Isleworth. Various tributaries and dis tributaries of the Thames flow including. Elections across the London Boroughs are held every four years. Since the Hounslow borough was formed it has been controlled by the Labour Party on all but two elections: in 1968 the Conservatives formed a majority until they lost control to Labour in 1971; the 2006 local elections produced a no overall control result. Although Labour was the largest party on the Council, the Conservatives formed a coalition with the six Councillors from the independent Isleworth Community Group which administered the area until the 2010 local elections when Labour regained control. Seat distribution as of 2018 elections: Reflecting how votes were cast in the national elections, in separate polls
Public housing in the United Kingdom
Public housing in the United Kingdom provided the majority of rented accommodation in the country until 2011. Houses built for public or social housing use are built by or for local authorities and known as council houses. Before 1865, housing for the poor was provided by the private sector. Council houses were built on council estates, where other amenities, like schools and shops, were also provided. From the 1950s, blocks of flats and three- or four-storey blocks of maisonettes were built. Flats and houses were built in mixed estates. Council homes were built to supply uncrowded, well-built homes on secure tenancies at reasonable rents to working-class people. Public housing in the mid-20th century included many large suburban "council estates" and numerous urban developments featuring tower blocks. Many of these developments did not live up to the hopes of their supporters, now suffer from urban blight. Since 1979, the role of council housing has changed. Housing stock has been sold under Right to Buy legislation, new social housing has been developed and managed by housing associations.
A substantial part of the UK population still lives in council housing: in 2010, about 17% of UK households. 55% of the country's social housing stock is owned by local authorities – of which 15% is managed on a day-to-day basis by arms-length management organisations, rather than the authority, 45% by housing associations. In Scotland, council estates are known as'schemes'; the history of public housing is the history of the housing of the poor. That statement is controversial, as before 1890 the state was not involved in housing policy. Public housing became needed to provide "homes fit for heroes" in 1919 to enable slum clearance. Standards were set to ensure high quality homes. Aneurin Bevan, a Labour politician, passionately believed that council houses should be provided for all, while the Conservative politician Harold Macmillan saw council housing "as a stepping stone to home ownership"; the Labour government of Harold Wilson built houses and flats to the point where there was a surplus in the late 1960s.
The Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher transferred the public housing stock to the private sector to the point where councils had to rent back their own houses to house the homeless, with the Right to Buy scheme being introduced in 1979 and the millionth council house being sold within seven years. In the stable medieval model of landowner and peasant, where the estate workers lived at the landowner whim in a tied cottage, the aged and infirm needed provision from their former employer, the church or the state; the documented history of social housing in Britain starts with almshouses, which were established from the 10th century, to provide a place of residence for "poor and distressed folk". The first recorded almshouse was founded in York by King Æthelstan; the public workhouse was the final fallback solution for the destitute. Rural poverty had been increased by the Inclosure Acts leaving many in need of assistance; this was divided into outside relief, or handouts to keep the family together, inside relief, which meant submitting to the workhouse.
The workhouse provided for two groups of people – the transient population roaming the country looking for seasonal work, the long-term residents. The two were kept separate; the long term residents included single elderly men incapable of further labour, young women with their children—often women, abandoned by their husbands, single mothers and servant-girls, dismissed from residential positions. The pressure for decent housing was increased by overcrowding in the large cities during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century; some industrialists and independent organisations provided housing in tenement blocks, while some philanthropist factory owners built entire villages for their workers, such as Saltaire and Port Sunlight. The City of London Corporation built tenements in Farringdon Road in 1865, but this was an isolated instance; the first council to build housing as an integrated policy was Liverpool Corporation, starting with St Martin's Cottages in Ashfield Street, completed in 1869.
The Corporation built Victoria Square Dwellings, opened by Home Secretary Sir Richard Cross in 1885. That year, a Royal Commission was held, as the state had taken an interest in housing and housing policy; this led to the Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890, which encouraged the London authority to improve the housing in their areas. It gave them the power to acquire land and to build tenements and houses; as a consequence, London County Council opened the Boundary Estate in 1900, a'block dwelling estate' of tenements in Tower Hamlets. The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1900 extended these power to all local councils, which began building tenements and houses. In 1912, Raymond Unwin published, he worked on the influential Tudor Walters Report of 1918, which recommended housing in short terraces, spaced 70 feet apart at a density of 12 per acre. The First World War indirectly provided a new impetus, when the poor physical health and condition of many urban recruits to the army was noted with alarm.
This led to a campaign under the slogan "Homes fit for heroes". In 1919, the Government first required councils to provide housing, built to the Tudor Walters standards, under the Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919, helping them to do so through the
Broadwater Farm referred to as "The Farm", is an area in Tottenham, north London, straddling the River Moselle. The eastern half of the area is dominated by the Broadwater Farm Estate, a Corbusian experiment in high-density social housing, dominated by concrete towers connected by walkways, built in the late 1960s using cheap but fire-vulnerable pre-fabricated concrete panels; the western half of the area is taken up by Lordship Recreation Ground, one of north London's largest parks. Broadwater Farm in 2011 had a population of 4,844; the estate is owned by Haringey London Borough Council. Following the publication of Alice Coleman's Utopia on Trial in 1985, the area acquired a reputation as one of the worst places to live in the United Kingdom; this perception was exacerbated when serious rioting erupted that year. However, following a major redevelopment programme, crime rates dropped and the burglary rate was zero percent in 2005, it is one of the most ethnically diverse locations in London.
Broadwater Farm was completed in the early 1970s and built using the same Taylor Woodrow-Anglian system of prefabricated panels as Ronan Point. In June 2018, following tests conducted after the Grenfell Tower fire, Haringey Council announced hundreds of families would have to be evacuated because eleven of the towers are at risk of catastrophic collapse in the event of a fire. At least two may have to be demolished. Broadwater Farm is situated in the valley of the Moselle six miles north of the City of London, it is situated in a deep depression south of Lordship Lane, between the twin junctions of Lordship Lane and The Roundway. It is adjacent to Bruce Castle 547 yards from the centre of Tottenham, 1.2 miles from Wood Green. Until the opening of the nearby Bruce Grove railway station on 22 July 1872 the area was still rural, although close in proximity to London and the growing suburb of Tottenham. Aside from a small group of buildings clustered around neighbouring Bruce Castle, the only buildings in the area were the farmhouse and outbuildings of Broadwater Farm still a working farm.
Following construction of the railways to Tottenham and Wood Green, suburban residential development in the surrounding area took place rapidly. However, due to waterlogging and flooding caused by the River Moselle, Broadwater Farm was considered unsuitable for development and remained as farmland. By 1920, Broadwater Farm was the last remaining agricultural land on Lordship Lane, surrounded by housing on all sides. In 1932 Tottenham Urban District Council purchased Broadwater Farm; the western half was drained and converted for recreational use as Lordship Recreation Ground, while the eastern half was kept vacant for prospective development and used as allotments. Heavy concrete dikes were built to reduce flooding of the Moselle in Lordship Recreation Ground, whilst on the eastern half of the farm, the river was covered to run in culvert as far as Tottenham Cemetery. In 1967, construction of the Broadwater Farm Estate began on the site of the allotments. An area of the southeastern part of the park was used to replace the allotments destroyed by the new construction.
As built, the estate contained 1,063 flats, providing homes for 3,000–4,000 people. The design of the estate was inspired by Le Corbusier, characterised by large concrete blocks and tall towers; because of the high water table and the flood risk caused by the Moselle, which flows through the site, no housing was built at ground level. Instead, the ground level was occupied by car parks; the buildings were linked by a system of interconnected walkways at first floor level known as the "deck level". Shops and amenities were located on the deck level. While this reduced flood risk for residences and businesses, it resulted in there being no "eyes on the street" at ground level, decreased the feeling of community; the 12 interconnected buildings were each named after a different World War II RAF aerodrome. The most conspicuous buildings are the tall Northolt and Kenley towers, the large ziggurat-shaped Tangmere block. By 1973, problems with the estate were becoming apparent; the housing was poorly maintained by authorities.
It suffered badly from pest infestations and electrical faults. More than half of the people offered accommodation in the estate refused it, the majority of existing residents had applied to be re-housed elsewhere. In 1976, less than ten years after the estate opened, the Department of the Environment concluded that the estate was of such poor quality that the only solution was demolition. While residents objected to conditions, some opposed the demolition plan. Relations between the community and the local authority became confrontational. A process of redevelopment began in 1981, but it was hampered by a lack of funds and an negative public perception of the area. By the time that Alice Coleman's critique of 1960s planned housing, Utopia on Trial, was published, the estate was regarded as being representative of unsuccessful large-scale social housing projects; when a major exhibition by Le Corbusier in the mid-1980s was unable to attract sponsorship, the refusal of sponsors to be associated with his name was attributed to the "Broadwater Farm factor".
The book's criticism of alleged "lapses of civilised behaviour" on Le Corbusier-inspired estates, claiming that residents of such buildings were far more to
Gospel Oak is an inner urban area of north west London in the London Borough of Camden at the south of Hampstead Heath. The neighbourhood is positioned between Hampstead to the north-west, Dartmouth Park to the north-east, Kentish Town to the south-east, Belsize Park to the south-west. Gospel Oak lies across the NW5 and NW3 postcodes and is served by Gospel Oak station on the London Overground; the North London Suburb, Gospel Oak, has many schools around it. The name Gospel Oak derives from a local oak tree, under which parishioners gathered to hear regular gospel readings when the area was still rural; the oak of Gospel Oak marked the boundary between the parishes of Hampstead and St Pancras, was said to be situated on the corner of Mansfield Road and Southampton Road. The oak vanished sometime in the 1800s and was last recorded on a map of the area in 1801. There are reports that the founder of Methodism John Wesley preached from the oak, with the 18th century farming population meeting there regularly.
The small street named Wesleyan Place, off Highgate Road, was the original site of a early Methodist chapel, connected with the famous oak. Local resident Michael Palin attempted in 1998 to re-plant a new oak tree for Gospel Oak in Lismore Circus, but the tree has not survived; the history of Gospel Oak can be traced as far back as the history of Hampstead, documented in AD 986 by Ethelred the Unready to the Abbot of Westminster. Situated as it is in the southern part of Hampstead Heath, the area was, in years past, referred to as nearby South End Green; when the now-lost great oak tree of Gospel Oak became famous as a preaching spot in the 1700s, the area was referred to as Gospel Oak, the name continues today. The neighbourhood began serious development in the mid-1800s when Lord Mansfield, Lord Southampton and Lord Lisburne were the local landowners. Plans were drawn up for elegant streets radiating from Lismore Circus but after two railway lines were extended across the area in the 1860s the first buildings were two- and three-story cottages, based around present-day Oak Village.
The area was for many years rather remote from the rest of the wider Kentish Town development and streets were not completed and the housing stock was regarded as sub-standard. During this early building period, there was a risk. In the 1840s, Lord Southampton’s estate proposed building on the fields, but a campaign led to the fields being bought in 1889 by the Metropolitan Board of Works as an extension to the protected Hampstead Heath; the fields now host Parliament Hill itself, the Parliament Hill Lido, an athletics running track, a bandstand, café and various children’s play areas. On the evening of 2 September 1861, an excursion train returning from Kew Gardens hit an empty train on the bridge next to Gospel Oak station; the engine left the line and plunged down the embankment, killing 14 and injuring 300. A curious story of Victorian Gospel Oak relates to a story that appeared in the local press of the time, called "The Elephants of Gospel Oak". In March 1884, Sangers Circus was booked to perform at Gospel Oak.
Four elephants were transported by train to Kentish Town but on leaving the train, two of the elephants bolted and ran up Fortess Road, knocking over a child, running further beyond Tufnell Park station and ending up falling into cellars in Pemberton Gardens. The other two elephants were drafted to pull out the trapped elephants using ropes. All four elephants paraded down the streets of Dartmouth Park, accompanied by hundreds of onlookers, arriving back at Gospel Oak where the elephants performed to packed audiences. Development including the areas of the Mansfield Conservation area to the west of Gospel Oak station led to the neighbourhood becoming more respectable and solidly residential - although in 1909 when John Betjeman's family moved to the more affluent Highgate they felt that they were a cut above Gospel Oak: Here from my eyrie, as the sun went down,I heard the old North London puff and shunt,Glad that I did not live in Gospel Oak. Bombing during the 1940s and post-war regeneration affected Gospel Oak considerably.
During World War Two, the area around Gospel Oak station was bombed, on the night of 16 November 1940, Mansfield Road School and other parts of Gospel Oak were bombed. The school was acting as a fire station at the time and 4 local residents died and many more injured; the present-day school was subsequently built on the site, the damaged Victorian houses opposite were torn down to make way for the more modern estates that are seen today. One of ‘London’s lost rivers’ the River Fleet flows hidden under Gospel Oak, following the line of Fleet Road, crossing under Southampton Road, Kingsford Road and continuing along the line of Malden Road to meet the Thames. Gospel Oak is part of the wider Holborn and St Pancras parliamentary seat held by Labour's Keir Starmer. Residential areas Oak Village, its neighbouring road, Elaine Grove, are some of the prettiest residential parts of Gospel Oak; these streets remain unchanged since the cottages were built in the early Victorian period. The Mansfield Conservation area, contained by Roderick and Mansfield Roads contains the bulk of Gospel Oak’s larger terraced Victorian and Edwardian properties.
Lissenden Gardens, a mansion flat estate consisting of Parliament Hill Mansions, Lissenden Mansions and Clevedon Mansions, is a popular residential area of Gospel Oak, with its own interesting and diverse history, famous as the birthplace of John Betjeman
Garden city movement
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning in which self-contained communities are surrounded by "greenbelts", containing proportionate areas of residences and agriculture. The idea was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom and aims to capture the primary benefits of a countryside environment and a city environment while avoiding the disadvantages presented by both. Inspired by the utopian novel Looking Backward and Henry George's work Progress and Poverty, Howard published the book To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform in 1898, his idealised garden city would house 32,000 people on a site of 6,000 acres, planned on a concentric pattern with open spaces, public parks and six radial boulevards, 120 ft wide, extending from the centre. The garden city would be self-sufficient and when it reached full population, another garden city would be developed nearby. Howard envisaged a cluster of several garden cities as satellites of a central city of 58,000 people, linked by road and rail.
Howard’s To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform sold enough copies to result in a second edition, Garden Cities of To-morrow. This success provided him the support necessary to pursue the chance to bring his vision into reality. Howard believed that all people agreed the overcrowding and deterioration of cities was one of the troubling issues of their time, he quotes a number of their disdain of cities. Howard’s garden city concept combined the town and country in order to provide the working class an alternative to working on farms or in ‘crowded, unhealthy cities’. To build a garden city, Howard needed money to buy land, he decided to get funding from "gentlemen of responsible position and undoubted probity and honour". He founded the Garden City Association, which created First Garden City, Ltd. in 1899 to create the garden city of Letchworth. However, these donors would collect interest on their investment if the garden city generated profits through rents or, as Fishman calls the process, ‘philanthropic land speculation’.
Howard tried to include working class cooperative organisations, which included over two million members, but could not win their financial support. Because he had to rely only on the wealthy investors of First Garden City, Howard had to make concessions to his plan, such as eliminating the cooperative ownership scheme with no landlords, short-term rent increases, hiring architects who did not agree with his rigid design plans. In 1904, Raymond Unwin, a noted architect and town planner, his partner Barry Parker, won the competition run by First Garden City Ltd. to plan Letchworth, an area 34 miles outside London. Unwin and Parker planned the town in the centre of the Letchworth estate with Howard’s large agricultural greenbelt surrounding the town, they shared Howard’s notion that the working class deserved better and more affordable housing. However, the architects ignored Howard’s symmetric design, instead replacing it with a more ‘organic’ design. Letchworth attracted more residents because it brought in manufacturers through low taxes, low rents and more space.
Despite Howard’s best efforts, the home prices in this garden city could not remain affordable for blue-collar workers to live in. The populations comprised skilled middle class workers. After a decade, the First Garden City became profitable and started paying dividends to its investors. Although many viewed Letchworth as a success, it did not inspire government investment into the next line of garden cities. In reference to the lack of government support for garden cities, Frederic James Osborn, a colleague of Howard and his eventual successor at the Garden City Association, recalled him saying, "The only way to get anything done is to do it yourself." In frustration, Howard bought land at Welwyn to house the second garden city in 1919. The purchase was at auction, with money Howard and borrowed from friends; the Welwyn Garden City Corporation was formed to oversee the construction. But Welwyn did not become self-sustaining; until the end of the 1930s, Letchworth and Welwyn remained as the only existing garden cities in the United Kingdom.
However, the movement did succeed in emphasizing the need for urban planning policies that led to the New Town movement. Howard organised the Garden City Association in 1899. Two garden cities were built using Howard's ideas: Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City, both in the county of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Howard's successor as chairman of the Garden City Association was Sir Frederic Osborn, who extended the movement to regional planning; the concept was adopted again in the UK after World War II, when the New Towns Act spurred the development of many new communities based on Howard's egalitarian ideas. The idea of the garden city was influential including the United States. Examples include Residence Park in New York.
Chalkhill Estate is located in the Wembley Park area of northwest London. It was one of three large council estates built in the London Borough of Brent; the design was based on that of Park Hill in Sheffield. Chalkhill Estate was developed as a Metroland estate from 1921 but it was between 1966 and 1970 that the high density, high rise council estate providing flats, shops, a medical centre, car parking and open space was developed. There were low-rise two-storey developments such as Buddings Circle and Wellsprings Crescent and 30 high-rise "Bison" built blocks linked by "walkways in the sky". In total there were about flats. Chalkhill Estate contained a number of recreational facilities for children and the elderly at every corner such as slides, seating areas with flower beds, climbing frames and other such things you would expect to find in a public park. Dwellings on the high-rise estate comprised single-storey one- / two-bedroom flats and larger two-storey family homes and were located along corridors or walkways affectionately called Goldbeaters Walk, Greenrigg Walk, Redcliffe Walk and Bluebird Walk.
The dwellings were all-electric, utilizing what was state-of-the-art technology. The architect's vision of contented tenants living in harmony and connected by these "walkways in the sky" might have seemed like some kind of aerial utopia but the reality was different. During the mid-1970s those drafty "walkways in the sky" became convenient escape routes for criminals and Chalkhill Estate was becoming known as a crime hot-spot attracting any number of unsavoury characters from neighbouring areas, but not always football hooligans would visit the estate after matches at the nearby Wembley Stadium vandalising property and buildings and attacking local residents. Milkmen who had delivered to residents doorsteps using hand-pulled milk-floats via service lifts had restricted their operations due to the high number of robberies. Lifts when they were operational stank of urine so that it was preferable to walk up dozens of flights of poorly lit concrete stairs; the two high-rise car parks became a hiding place for shady drug-deals.
The local shops were robbed. The recreational facilities due to poor maintenance and vandalism deteriorated rapidly. Areas like the paddling pool, adjacent to the shops and the sandpit - both of which were popular in the summer as a meeting place for parents and children, became dangerous due to presence of quantities of broken glass; the flower beds and seating areas for the elderly were destroyed as fast. One by one, these facilities were decommissioned, some removed and replaced by other facilities only to become vandalised once again. In 1980s, widespread concern about the conditions on the estate including poor quality and crime which led to a number of initiatives that included door entry systems and walkway closures. Years of notoriety and poor living conditions led to a decision of demolition and remediation stages of the final 450-house scheme; the 1900 houses and flats were demolished and Chalkhill Estate was refurbished early 2000. Over the years the estate has tried to shake off its poor image to little avail.
In the 1990s, Chalkhill Estate along with several other local housing estates in Brent became contested drug markets, one notable gang to hold influence over the area was known as the "Press Road Crew". Rivalry between individuals associated to the Press Road Crew and South Kilburn resulted in the murder of 29-year-old Jason Greene in 2006. From on the newer generations of youths, proclaiming gang names and adopting the estate as their territory, have existed under a range of names. Chalkhill Estate has since been given the nickname "Crack Hill" and from the late 2000s the local youths in the area began to refer to their gang as the "Crack Hill Mob", or "Chalk Hill Boys". Sometimes referred to as "Blue Gang" as they identify with the colour blue. In terms of media attention, some activity was noted in local press from 2009 onwards with regards to the Chalkhill Estate. There has been an increase in reported incidents of youth robbery and drug raids on the revamped estate throughout 2009–10. In January 2010, a young man was shot on the estate and left with a fractured skull after an incident on Chalkhill Road.
In 2011, three high-living members of a £20m drugs network, which included Charlotte Church's former lover Kyle Johnson, were jailed for a total of 22 years. During the police operation and investigation £6m worth of heroin was recovered from a man in Chalkhill Road and a nearby flat