Scissors Flats in Broadley Street

Scissors Flats were invented by Colin and Jennifer Jones and first built as a private development in Muswell Hill. Colin Jones and his wife Jennifer, who were also in private practice, developed the scissors flat concept at 'Westside,' in Fortis Green, Muswell Hill.2  Later Colin Jones, who was an L.C.C. architect, introduced the system to the public sector and examples were built all over London.

Scissors Flats are built on three levels, with access at the middle level from a corridor above or below the two layers of flats.

Each flat has rooms looking to the front of the block, a short flight of stairs to a half floor with the entrance door, kitchen and bathroom level, and then another short flight to rooms looking towards the back. By entering from a common corridor above or below the flat, the space of a second corridor is saved. (one corridor can serve flats on the floor above and the floor below, saving one corridor in two).

The central section of each flat is only half width. This means that the entrance, bathroom and kitchen of two flats wrap round each other and two flats form an X -  like a pair of scissors. It saves space and allows the other rooms to be larger for the same price. The flats are like two Victorian Bye-law Houses with the staircases passing each other. Similar low-level blocks were built by the L.C.C. in Malden Road, Camden, Broadley Street and all over London.

With thanks to RIBA Journal


  1. The Growth of Muswell Hill, by Jack Whitehead, pp. 172-5.


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Updated July 5, 2011