Municipal Dreams

We left the Honor Oak Estate last week, perhaps as oppressed by the inequality and constraints that have marked the lives of our poorer citizens as by Nazi bombs.  1945 brought the defeat of Hitler; the struggle to achieve decent conditions for all our people would be longer-fought.  In this and for the new generation of planners, the Estate would feature as a warning of what to avoid.  The ‘neighbourhood units’ and ‘mixed developments’ favoured – in principle rather better than in practice – in the post-war years were a conscious reaction to the design failings of interwar council estates, of which Honor Oak was taken to be a prime example. (1)

Barville Close Barville Close

The General Election of 1945 saw a Labour landslide and a shift, it seems, in the politics and identity of the Estate too: ‘After the war we all went voting for Labour’, largely, as remembered, through the…

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