The 59 metre high building was designed by Douglas Bailey, Francis Skinner and Berthold Lubetkin, and was finished in 1962.
You can see it from miles away, and if you’ve ever visited the flower market on a Sunday you’ve probably marvelled up at it’s hugeness. Here is a picture from a nearby park:
It’s frontage is made from a series of interlocking concrete and brick structures that form forward and backward C-shapes – we think it looks kind of like how council flats would look if they were made by an accomplished Lego builder.
The block has 76 flats over 19 floors, with amazing views from the top. We managed to wangle our way in via one of the residents to take these pictures from the highest residential floor (there is a 20th level that presumably holds services). In the second you can see Columbia Road to the right.
The house, which is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, has a coloured past. In 2002 it was the scene of a gruesome triple murder where an estranged husband returned to his ex-wife’s flat, stabbing, mutilating and killing her and her two children (who had a different father).
News story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2242659.stm
Even earlier, in 1979, a woman plunged to her death from the 18th floor in mysterious circumstances. According to the East London Advertiser Keli Welch was found dead at the base of the building, just hours after she was reporter missing from her Somerset home.
At the time of the tragedy, believed to be around 2.45pm on a Sunday, all residents on the 18th floor were out. Mrs Eileen Hook, who lived on the 18th floor, said: “If only we had been here we might have saved her. The window she went through was cracked but not broken. We would have heard the smashing glass. Someone must have broken it before she fell because it was all over the landing.”
An inquest was carried out into her death.
More recently the only thing residents can really complain about is the rise of prices in the building. Two-bedroom flats in the block can be rented for around £315/week and are very rare to come up for sale, especially given its prime location next to the City and Old Street.