A Lubetkin classic: Bevin Court

Staircase at Bevin Court, Berthold Lubetkin (Tecton)

As far as feature staircases go, this is the best I’ve ever seen. Just look at it. It’s bloody awesome.

This staircase is the central feature of Bevin Court, a council housing block in the borough of Islington designed by Berthold Lubetkin while he was still at Tecton, and completed as part of the Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin partnership in 1954.

The building in Holford Square was built on a site bombed during the war.

Bevin Court, Berthold Lubetkin

Interestingly the building also occupies the site of a home occupied by Lenin in 1902/03, and the estate’s original name was due to be Lenin Court. A memorial to the Russian once stood somewhere on the site, and at one point required a police guard because of ongoing vandalism.

Eventually the borough of Finsbury, as it was known then, had enough and wanted it removed. Oral history gets a bit shady here, but Wikipedia (and lots of others) say the memorial’s head was buried underneath what is now the central staircase. Residents, however, assure me it is not and is in fact buried under a nearby car park.

Stairs at Bevin Court, Berthold Lubetkin (Tecton)

The building has a similar shape to the large blocks of the Dorset Estate – with three arms of homes sticking out from the central stairs. As you can see, there are 112 dwellings across the seven floors.

A one-bed flat here was on sale last year for £330k.

Bevin Court, Berthold Lubetkin (Tecton)

The building is a bit more austere than the nearby Spa Green Estate – there are no balconies or other facilities.

But let’s just take another look at the stairs.

Staircase at Bevin Court, Berthold Lubetkin (Tecton)

Yep, this building definitely deserves its Grade II* listing.


7 thoughts on “A Lubetkin classic: Bevin Court

  1. Stunning staircase. The bust of Lenin is part of the Islington Museum underneath (but not buried) Finsbury Library.

  2. Also worth a mention is the mural by Peter Yates in the entrance hall. Peter Yates went on to work with Lubetkin on the abortive plan for Peterlee new town before setting up in practice with Gordon Ryder in Newcastle and producing some of the UK’s best modernist buildings of the 1960′s.

    The mural is in need of restoration and this is especially important since the ones on the Priory Green Estate were painted over.

  3. What was buried was not the bust specifically, but Lubetkin’s memorial to Lenin that housed it. That is under the car park at the rear of the estate. You can see the structure I refer to here:
    View image | gettyimages.com
    The paint is new, but old. In 2012, the stairwell was repainted in its original colour scheme after nearly 30 years have being either white or robin’s egg blue.
    Also, your readers may be interested to know that the magnificent Peter Yates mural in the lobby is in the process of being restored at the moment. Expected completion date is November 2015. (a long term resident)

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