Central Hill Estate, Crystal Palace SE19

Central Hill Estate
Crystal Palace SE19
Major Ted Hollamby major housing scheme
Architect: Ted Hollamby
Year Built: 1966-1974

It looks like this Ted Hollamby-designed estate is going to meet the same fate as Cressingham Gardens, which I visited last year (i.e. bulldozing is imminent). This is another great shame but having wandered around it, It’s not difficult to see why.

Architecturally, it’s interesting, with all of the hallmarks of a low-rise Ted Hollamby estate. There’s a range of dwellings, ranging from one-bedroom flats through to four-bedroom houses, constructed in variety of unusual shapes (triangular pitched roofs, stepped balconies, perfect cubes) and materials (mostly grey slate, limestone-coloured brick and concrete).

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Unlike Cressingham Gardens, which is built on a large, mostly flat site surrounding a low mound, the Central Hill Estate has been built on a very sloping site with pedestrianised walkways and stairways snaking up and down and between the buildings. The other difference from Cressingham Gardens is the fact that Central Hill Estate has clearly not been managed or maintained properly over the years and has descended into moderate disrepair. It all seems a bit stained and broken (some of the glass balconies were literally broken) and really could do with refurbishment.

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Unfortunately, given the prime location that the Central Hill Estate occupies (right next to the the now-trendy Crystal Palace triangle), it’s unlikely to be refurbished for the benefit of the mostly local authority tenants. Instead, it’s likely to be replaced with a bland new build development for private owners with a small wing of local authority housing tacked to the side.

Based on previous estate agent listings (and some current ones though I can’t think who would want to buy a property that has been earmarked for “regeneration”), the interiors of the flats look really quite nice. They seem to be spacious and light-filled with decent balconies or terraces. Here is an example of a four-bedroom house, which was on for something very reasonable (around £420k, if I remember correctly).

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