Lansbury Estates

The Lansbury Estate, Poplar, Part 1: meeting 'the needs of the people' |  Municipal Dreams

The Lansbury Estates were social housing built over bombing sites from WWI and WWII. Houses were destroyed, leaving many struggling to live. With morale being low and a need for jobs, plans for the estates began. Building the Lansbury Estates was so much more of a social project than just building a neighborhood. The philosophy behind building the Estates was the idea that a neighborhood should be self-sustaining, containing all that a community would need to thrive, but just a walking distance away. The Estates being government housing, meant they were considerably cheaper than a normal flat would be at that time. The construction fo the estates began in 1949, shortly after it became the live architecture exhibit for the Festival of Britain. However, these original apartment buildings were not as we would normally picture them today, only standing 2-3 stories tall. The Chrisp Street Market is a key feature of the estates as well, being built for those living near to be able to walk to, socialization and a sense of community were key features of the market being built. The Market is still a social hub today, with many different cultures blossoming through the street. Overtime more people needed housing and one of the only ways to move was up, many towers were built in the 60s to compensate for the influx of residents in the area, much to the original planners dismay. 

The architecture critic Lewis Mumford wrote of the Lansbury Estate (1953) "Its design has been based not solely on abstract aesthetic principles, or on the economics of commercial construction, or on the techniques of mass production, but on the social constitution of the community itself, with its diversity of human interests and human needs. Thus the architects and planners have avoided not only the clichés of ´high rise´ building but the dreary prisonlike order that results from forgetting the very purpose of housing and the necessities of neighbourhood living." (Guardian)


“Architects Hark Back to Festival of Britain with 'Vertical Carnival'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 June 2014,

Accessed, April 17, 2023

“Lansbury.” Hidden London,

Accessed, April 17, 2023

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1949 to circa. 1982