Paddington council flats awarded Grade II-listed status

An iconic Paddington council estate designed by some of the most notable architects of the 20th century has been awarded Grade II-listed status.

The Hallfield Estate, which covers a 17-acre site behind Bishop’s Bridge Road, was designed in 1947 and fully opened in 1955.

Aiming to combine accessible open space with mass housing for more than 2,000 residents, the estate was designed by famous modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin, whose work includes the original London Zoo penguin pool and the Highgate Highpoint housing block.

Housing minister John Penrose said: “These blocks show real flair and beauty, and all the more so considering the post-war era in which they were conceived.

“Sixty years on, they have become a distinctive part of the London landscape, still looking good and remaining popular with residents and visitors alike.

“Listing does not mean the estate must now stand unchanged for all time, but it does mean that any future redevelopment plans will have to take the estate’s heritage value into account before final decisions are taken. This seems right to me.”

One of the largest inner-London estates, Hallfield consists of 14 blocks named after towns with stations on the Great Western Railway line from Paddington, as well as a laundry, estate office and Hallfield School.

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English Heritage’s Hannah Parham described Hallfield as a “seminal post-war housing estate”.

“The estate presents a convincing riposte to criticism that post-war council housing is grey, drab and utilitarian,” she said.

“At Hallfield, the exteriors of each block are treated like works of abstract art – some are patterned with a chequerboard of blue and red brickwork, others have a zigzagging screen of white concrete panels.”

Rose Cleary, 64, has lived on the estate since 1957 and is chairman of the Hallfield Estate residents’ association. She said: “To have a big estate like this in the middle of London with so much greenery is unbelievable.”

The estate was designated as a conservation area by Westminster Council in 1990. The council’s deputy leader Councillor Robert Davis said: “The listing will help preserve its character and place in the surrounding conservation area.”