Anthony Powell's novel 'The Acceptance World', part of the 'Dance of Time' sequence, starts as follows:-
What an evocative picture of an area which, in the nineteen thirties, had deteriorated to a world of lodging houses: where single people cooked on gas rings, shown starkly in Bill Brant’s black and white pictures of bed-sitter life. The hidden message in this passage tells us a lot about the period before the Second World War. To the better-off, the streets to the east of Edgware Road were familiar territory, but the streets to the west were 'unknown', a bit raffish, louche, not fashionable.
The Bishop of London’s estate had gone downhill in a mass of vaguely drawn leases and multi-occupation. People who were hardly able to pay their rent were not likely to be able to come together with all the other tenants to pay for the entire building to be painted every five years. Without this regular maintenance the stucco buildings were sure to decay, with leaking roofs, paint peeling, the plaster attacked by acid rain and falling away in black scabs. In 1945, at the end of the War, the estate was a sorry sight.