Watford Close is a small street on the Ethelburga Estate.
This substantial estate between Battersea Bridge
and Albert Bridge
Roads is understated for an LCC development of its date, 1963–5. Its planning, pleasantly knitting together a series of internal squares, makes up for a certain want of architectural imagination.
The LCC’s involvement with the wedge of land between the main roads to the bridges dates back to 1958, when it agreed to build a hostel here for 200 students as part of the deal for turning Battersea Polytechnic into a college of advanced technology. This tall and imposing building, the future Ralph West Hall, was erected to designs by the LCC Architect’s Department in 1959–61 (job architect, Michael Horsman). It was demolished in 2009. Its prominent site facing Albert Bridge
Road was noted at the planning stage as adjoining an ‘area to be redeveloped by the Council to the west’.
The Ethelburga Estate scheme came before the London County Council in November 1960. It would be a mixed development on a site of 14 acres, comprising 578 dwellings distributed between one tower block, three blocks of seven-storey flats, and many of lower groups. The LCC housing architect in charge of the project was H. G. Gillett.
The naming of the blocks and internal roads held local significance: Jagger House, and Henty and Maskelyne Close
s were called after famous Battersea residents; Watford Close after Watford Villas, and Searles House after Searle Street, both obliterated by the development.