Golden Lane Estate Area

An important city council housing complex is the Golden Lane Estate in the City of London. It was built in the northernmost part of the City on the site where the significant bombing took place during World War II.

Origins

The estate provides dwellings to the north of Cripplegate, built after the buildings of the City of London were damaged by the Nazi bombing during the Second World War. In 1950, about 500 people remained in the city, and only about 50 of those lived in Cripplegate. As part of a comprehensive plans for recovery and rebuilding for the City of London, the purpose of the brief was to provide general-needs council housing for the service workers in the City.

At the time of that decision the Estate fell within the jurisdiction of Finsbury Borough, and therefore some of the tenancies were initially offered to Finsbury residents on a waiting list. Residents lobbied for boundary changes to the Estate following a boundary change in 1994, which the City of London now maintains.

Development

The emphasis was on singles and couples, rather than families with children, as was evident in other council housing during the era. All 554 units are studios and one-bedroom apartments. Even though the population density was high at 200 individuals per acre, 60% of the site area was open space due to taller structures that were not common in 1951. The site, which had been occupied by smaller firms and industries since the mid-19th century, was primarily used to manufacture metal products. In some areas of the bombed buildings, the basements have been used for gardening. The adjacent Barbican Estate was designed by architecture firm Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who won the Pritzker Prize for this building. The City of London Corporation paid for, commissioned, and continues to manage the Golden Lane Estate on behalf of the City and remains the freeholder of the site. However, the City of London is distinguished from the majority of the area, which is one of the most non-residential urban areas in Europe, the capital of international financial services.

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