Spa Green Estate, EC1R

The area of the estate had been designated for slum clearance and then partly demolished due to German bombing. Spa Green was built by the architect Berthold Lubetkin and received a Grade II* listing for its architectural significance. Lubetkin intended the project as a manifesto for modern architecture.

Political leaders in the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury worked with the radical architect Lubetkin and his practice Tecton. The nearby Finsbury Health Centre – built in 1938 – pointed forward to the future welfare state. Spa Green, first designed in 1938 and developed in 1943 was aimed to fulfil a utopian promise.

Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan laid the foundation stone in July 1946, and the opening ceremonies in 1949 included the planting of a plane tree by Princess Margaret.

Spa Green adopted many features including lifts, central heating, balconies, daylight and ventilation from multiple directions, large entry spaces, and a roof terrace.

Fitted kitchens included slide-away breakfast counters and ironing boards, electrical and gas appliances, and a central waste-disposal system in stainless steel.

Two parallel blocks of eight storeys (Tunbridge House and Wells House) have a central plaza. Sadler House runs in a curve between this plaza and the terrace houses of Rosebery Avenue.

Lubetkin’s design made sure that everyone had a balcony on the street side.

Conceived as public housing, it is now a mixed community of private owners and council tenants, run by a resident-elected management organization.

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