The Walterton Road and Elgin Avenue Estate

Early History

As described before, Walterton Road and Elgin Avenue, lying between Harrow Road and Edgware Road, were built from 1865 to 1885 as a suburb on the edge of town. Their 99 year leases would begin to fall in during the 1960s, so In 1953 the London County Council (LCC) purchased the freehold of the Walterton Road Estate from the Church Commissioners for £202,000. The Council assumed that in 1964 it would obtain vacant possession of all the properties and planned to completely rehabilitate the houses.

However, in the decade after 1953 unscrupulous landlords, including Rachman, bought up the tail ends of leases for next to nothing and crammed the properties with tenants. They charged high rents and did few repairs. It was a period of near gangsterism and aroused enormous public protest, so that the word 'Rachmanism' went into the language as a term of abuse.

As a result of this neglect, when the properties reverted to the LCC, the estate was even more run down than had been expected. Many homes lacked the most basic amenities and there was overcrowding in every street.


Map of St Peter's Park
Bartlett and Britton, 1834

The 1834 map shows Oak Tree, Elm and Grocers Fields on which the Walterton and Elgin Estates were to be built later. Both were owned by the Bishop of London. To the south is the Regent's Canal and, just north of that, Harrow Road which marks the southern boundary of the new estate.

 

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Updated July 5, 2011