|York Rise Estate Gardens||Camden|
York Rise Estate was built as a garden estate for the St Pancras Housing Improvement Society in 1937-8, designed in neo-Georgian style. The Society was founded in 1924, its aims to buy and convert poor quality old properties or build new housing for only a small profit. The London Midland & Scottish Railway invited the Society to build a new estate on railway lands north of Kentish Town and each of the 5 blocks was named after a railway or engineering pioneer: Brunel, Faraday, Newcomen, Stephenson and Trevethick. The estate was laid out with formal gardens between Faraday and Newcomen, a playground between Newcomen and Brunel, six drying grounds that still retain their concrete posts; originally there were allotments behind Trevithick.
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York Rise Estate was built as a garden estate for the St Pancras Housing Improvement Society (which later became St Pancras and Humanist Housing Association Ltd) in 1937-8, designed by their architect, Ian Hamilton, in neo-Georgian style, influenced by Art Deco. The Society, whose aim was to buy and convert poor quality old properties or build new housing for only a small profit, had been formed in 1924 at the instigation of Father Basil Jellicoe, a nephew of Admiral Jellicoe whose portrait bust is one of those naval heroes adorning Trafalgar Square (q.v.). There was an urgent need for housing following WWI, particularly social housing. Fr. Jellicoe was involved in the Oxford Mission in Somers Town and a passionate believer in the need for civilised housing. He was assisted by Edith Neville, who was Warden of the Mary Ward Centre and secretary to St Pancras Council of Social Service. The Society's shareholders included the future King Edward VIII, Sir Hugh Walpole and Stanley Unwin and celebrities who helped raise funds were drawn from the theatre and literary world of the day, such as John Betjeman, Flora Robson and J B Priestley.
The Society, later renamed St Pancras Housing Association, built its first small estate in 1925 with other schemes following in various parts of the Borough of St Pancras. It was part of the Society's philosophy to address the needs of its communities, and so provision was made for health and education. The building of York Rise Estate came at the instigation of London Midland & Scottish Railway Company, which invited the Society to build a new estate on its railway lands north of Kentish Town; the Estate continued to be in the railway company's ownership until 1985. The site prior to this was occupied by fields and St John's Farm, a large house belonging to St John's College Cambridge, which had substantial landholdings in the area. Many of those who first came to live at York Rise Estate were people who had been displaced when Euston Station was expanded, and who the LMSR was required to re-house. The estate, which initially provided accommodation for nearly 600 people, cost £90,000 to build and comprised five blocks, each named after a pioneer of the railway or engineering: Brunel, Faraday, Newcomen, Stephenson and Trevethick. Set out parallel to York Rise the estate was laid out with formal gardens between the blocks of Faraday and Newcomen, a playground between Newcomen and Brunel, six drying grounds, which still retain their concrete posts although the Doulton ceramic finials by Gilbert Bayes have disappeared, and originally there were allotments behind Trevithick.
A 7-storey block, Winifrede Paul House, was built at the east of the estate in 1969 to provide housing for people over 50, which has a community hall for the estate on the ground floor. Just south of the estate is a private open space adjacent to the railway line, now designated as Gospel Oak Churchill Site of Nature Conservation Importance.
LB Camden, Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Statement, 2009; St Pancras Housing Association, 'Local information for tenants, York Rise Estate, Tufnell Park'