Westbourne Park & Rachmanland, London, 1974-2008
Pictures taken in 1974 &, in roughly the same places, again in 2008:
* views of buildings & London skylines.
* Photos of demolition of the parts of the St Stephen's Gardens area and of the replacement Wessex Gardens estate in the early 70s

The area had included railway land (see maps pre 1966) on which the Brunel estate was built in the late 60s beside the railway/canal and the area demolished for the Westway, which was originally intended to be part of a box- motorway system into & around inner London (but it was never linked as intended, for example, to the Eastway/Blackwall tunnel approach road through Hackney & Islington).

The St Stephen's Gardens area (part of the original street remains but its western parts yielded to the Wessex Gardens estate from 1974) had been the centre of the activities of slum landlord Peter Rachman (1919-1962) and his acolytes. He was notorious for forcibly ejecting tenants who had security of tenure at controlled rents and replacing them at higher rents with people who could not easily find places to live in London because of discrimination against them (mainly recent migrants from the West Indies)... and then packing them into limited space in multi-occupied housing with poor maintenance & facilities. The demolition of the Victorian terraces is hard to imagine now given current prices for such dwellings (including in this now-gentrified area). Even by 1974, demolition of such buildings seemed questionable though much of this was in particularly poor repair. But compulsory purchase processes were slow & local government planners were originally determined to eradicate this form of landlord and the destruction of the area was also symbolic. Debates will rage about the merits of the council estates (and architecture) that replaced it.


For a contemporary map of the area, refer to the first photo in this set.
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