The end of the Haggerston & Kingsland Estates

It’s time to say goodbye to another council estate, the Haggerston & Kingsland Estates in Hackney.

A redevelopment here has been long on cards. But first a little history. The estates were constructed in two main phases, Haggerston West was built in the 1930s and after WWII Haggerston East was added, bringing the total number of homes here to 447.

And in 1949 the Kingsland Estate was opened by the Mayor of Shoreditch (as it says on the plaque below)

In September 2007 almost three-quarters of the residents on the estate voted in favour of the demolition and rebuild of the houses, and all of these were offered dwellings once the revamp is complete.

Demolition is ongoing….

It’s hard to say whether everyone has moved on, or if squatters have moved in in the meantime.

But before any demolition started the estate became home to one of the most interesting art projects the East End has seen – I Am Here.

Inspired by the orange boards that were fitted over the windows of the estate, a group of local artists replaced these (or at least those facing directly onto the canal) with images of residents.

In the artists’ words: ‘Onlookers no longer stand unchallenged, as their gaze is met and returned by a multitude of faces consisting of current and former residents on the estate. Thus the project literally humanises a piece of architecture on its final journey.

(Photo credit: Cybermyth13)

Now the London & Quadrant Housing Trust  has taken on the job of regenerating this area. In July 2008 London housing specialists PRP Architects won planning permission to build 761 new homes, a multi-storey community centre, a new public square and a number of retail units. More than half of the homes will be affordable housing and 248 will be for social rent. 

PRP said: ‘The masterplan focuses on improving safety and security. A core principle is to enhance the area increasing its appeal and individuality to the current and prospective communities.’

I imagine the homes for sale here will be snapped up by eager landlords and young people. Broadway Market and London Fields are just around the corner. Head one direction up the canal and you get to Angel and the other way leads to Victoria Park and Hackney Wick. Up the road is Dalston, down the road is Shoreditch. What more could a true east London hipster want?

Finally, a big thank you to Michael Donnelly for most of the photos on this entry!

9 thoughts on “The end of the Haggerston & Kingsland Estates

  1. Hi Some context: – a significant number of the residents fought a long campaign against being transferred to a private organisation. But the Council was determined it would happen and kept holding ballots till they got the result they wanted.

    In the meantime (5 years) they told residents no money would be spent on the estate until they voted the right way. So the estate became very run down and as people moved out the council boarded up flats so the remaining residents felt more and more isolated.

    In the end the Council got the result it wanted, 75% of remaining tenants voted in favour… Pity the Council had to wage such a long war of attrition with their tenants.

    And the London & Quadrant, the current owner of the estate, don’t have a great reputation as a landlord. But as you say, the new for sale homes will be snapped up by private landlords and well-off young things.

  2. I passed by the other day and wondered what the faces in the windows were all about. Any famous former residents among them?

    The gleaming new plans look very seductive. The site is only 5-10 minutes from the new Haggerston station on the East London Line – sorry London Overground – so I imagine they’ll go like hot cakes.

  3. Melissa – that’s really useful thank you. From the research I did it seemed like they voted for the change willingly, but clearly that wasn’t the case at all!

    Will – I don’t think so, I didn’t recognise any of them. Here’s a list of famous Haggerston (in general) residents from Wikipedia

    William Randal Cremer Liberal MP for Haggerston, pacifist and winner of the 1903 Nobel Peace Prize.
    Edmund Halley, astronomer, was born here in 1956.
    Iain Sinclair, writer
    Lasse Johansson, filmmaker, artist
    Andrea Luka Zimmerman, artist, filmmaker
    Joshua Lincoln Oppenheimer, filmmaker
    Michael Uwemedimo, writer
    John Hall, musician
    Rachel Whiteread, sculptor
    Stella Ouzounidou, artist
    Belén Zahera, artist
    Marta Bravo, artist
    Ruth-Marie Tunkara, community developer, artist

  4. Hi thank you for posting these photos.

    We live just opposite on the part of Haggerston Estate which was not a part of this demolition. I just wanted to reinforce what Melissa above says and to help people understand that all o this change is inevitable, but comes with a human and community price. The demolition documented above is in fact the somewhat muted ending to a many year long battle for local residents to first of all save their homes, and secondly, to get the council to maintain their properties to a livable standard – people were living in damp and extremely run down conditions, certainly nothing that the young hipsters of the area would be willing to put up with today. Sadly it was absolutely inevitable which way the situation was going to go. The local shops which once stood below the last remaining block have been relocated opposite but rents are triple and their business down with all the tenants now moved out for the next 4 years.

    If the council want to effect a demographic change in the area while making a profit, they are doing a great job of it now. And I have to agree London and Quadrant, Metropolitan Housing, Canalside, they have a real opportunity to change people’s lives in the communities they are responsible for but sadly they don’t work like that.

    It’s a shame. Haggerston is no doubt a buzzy and at times edgy residential area, but the artistic allure of East London as you describe is surely fast fading, with families and real artists and musicians being priced and hipstered out of places like this and Dalston.

  5. hi, i live in samuel house, and was part of putting up the pictures on the facade. i have been involved in tras and resident groups at haggerston on and off for 15 years…it is such a shame that the buildings have to come down, and we surely tried to avoid that, in a frustratingly slow struggle that led nowhere in the end…importantly, as mentioned above, quite many of the flats are damp and extremely mouldy (some have entire walls covered in black mould due to breaks in the roof etc), drafty, all due to lack of maintenance…this is the reason why there was an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote to transfer…the estate was not maintained for over 30 years, hence the mess the places are in. Andrea

  6. I also back up what Melissa and Radio have said above. These were solid well built flats the equivalent of those on Haggerston East Estatethat Canalside modernised with no compliants. The council had made a political decision to create ‘mixed communities’ on the basis that these are better than working class estates. Most people simply belived this was a land grab. If you do the maths you’ll see the number of social rented falls massively, from 447 to 248. The plans were sold partially on having quite a few large social rent family homes (much in demand) but the latest plans sees these whittled down to single figures. For years the council scandalously failed to spend money on this estate to the extent one area was regularly flooded. it was no suprise when the very small number of remaining tenants finally voted for the demolition plans.

  7. are the newer flats on the other side (jeger avenue) still with the council now or are they also being transferred to L&Q housing trust anybody?

  8. I lived in the back of a van in the car park here for 5 years. It was ok for me. The new development has simply taken away 90% of the car parking spaces and turned it into more flats. The flats had no money spent on them, no double glazing etc. The treatment of tenants prior to demolition was disgusting. I felt this was one massive money making scheme, oh, that’s because it was a massive money making scheme. The second “regeneration” in 70 years. I think I will be seeing the 3rd one too.

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