Peabody Buildings, London

Peabody Buildings, London: Case Study--

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General outline

The Peabody Trust is one of London's largest and oldest housing associations. Its own website says that it "… exists to tackle poverty, provide good, affordable housing and to make a difference through every project or initiative it undertakes."[1]
The Trust oversees the Peabody Donation Fund, established by London based American banker George Peabody in 1862. The initial endowment was £500,000 (then US$2,500,000 and equivalent to around £30 million in the early 21st century). The fund, which was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1948, has traditionally become known as the Peabody Trust. As of 2005 it owns or manages over 19,000 properties spread across almost all of the London boroughs, housing nearly 50,000 people. Since 1999, the Trust has devoted resources to the creation of new sustainable housing.


The trust built 226 Peabody buildings by 1905.
Their stated intention. ‘to apply the fund in construction of such improved dwellings for the poor as may combine in the uttermost possible degree the essentials of healthfulness, comfort, social enjoyment and economy’ resulted in buildings of the same distinctive type.
Blocks such as the Sir Thomas More Estate are 5 storeys in height with an additional storey in the centre of the blocks for drying rooms. WC facilities and sculleries were shared, one between two dwellings. Other shared facilities include the laundries with equipment and hot water supplied. Compared to later social housing the rooms are spacious with living rooms 3.45 x 4m. In addition to the blocks of dwellings, low rise cottages were provided with up to five rooms intended for larger families.

At the time sanitary conditions were of particular concern with house builders even measuring the success of their sanitary dwellings with mortality rates for the respective inhabitants.

The Sir Thomas More Estate, London is significant as one of the earliest buildings to provide self contained apartments in addition to those with shared facilities. The self contained flats had their own WC and scullery with a balcony area providing the ventilation between the two spaces.
Back to back arrangements were seen as inappropriate within Britain at the time so each apartment had windows to both sides providing good ventilation.

Hot water was provided centrally with water at boiling point in the morning so residents need not have to light a fire. Communal bathrooms were provided within the basement with hot and cold water supplies.

See also

External links

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