A trip to the Excalibur Estate, Catford

Excalibur Estate, Catford

A bit of an unusual one this week. The Excalibur Estate in Catford, south London is pretty unique. It’s the only pre-fabricated post-war housing estate left in London.

Unfortunately, very soon just six of the 187 will be left standing. Lewisham Council has agreed to demolish the rest, making way for a new development and lots more homes. Understandable, but it’s a shame – this really is a special place.

We visited at the start of March, just a week before the opening of the pop-up Prefab Museum, so unfortunately missed that.

Excalibur Estate, Catford

The estate was built between 1945-46 as part of the government’s drive to address the huge housing shortage facing the country after WWII.

Architects from the Ministry of Works designed the single-storey homes, which each have two bedrooms, an indoor toilet and a small garden.

Prisoners of war from Italy and Germany built the pre-fabricated homes, some of which are laid out in groups of 3/4/5 units accessed by paths from the road. Others sit right alongside the roads.

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Excalibur Estate, Catford

Some of the homes have been left fairly untouched. Others have been spruced up – it’s fun to look at all the different variations.

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The estate is slowly being cleared of residents and there are evident signs of the forthcoming regeneration.

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There are so many different things that make the estate unique. I love the large, corner windows on each house and the kind of Americana trailer park feel of the lay out.

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If you’re interested to go see it for yourself, the easiest way to get there is by train to Bellingham Station. Then walk down Bellingham Road, turn right at Longhill Road, then left on Wentland Road.

Also, you can read more about the Excalibur Estate in John Grindrod’s wonderful Concretopia.

 

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