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St Helier Estate Sutton
   
Summary: St Helier Estate was the largest LCC estate to be built south of the river and spans the boroughs of Sutton and Merton. It is one of a number of important LCC cottage estates inspired by the Garden City movement encouraged by Sir Ebenezer Howard and the pioneering town planning of Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin whose common characteristic is small-scale housing, often with excellent detailing, cul-de-sacs, generous verges and communal open spaces.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Bishopsford Road/Peterborough Road/Buckhurst Avenue/Winchcombe Road/Westminster Road/Glastonbury Road
Postcode: SM5 1JE (Middleton Circle > Google Map
Type of site: Housing/Estate Landscaping
Date(s): 1929-36
Designer(s): LCC: G.Topham Forrest
Listed structures:
Borough: Sutton
Site ownership: individual residents
Site management: LB Sutton and individual residents
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport: Rail: St. Helier. Bus.:151, 154, 164, 280, 157, 80.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2008
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

St Helier Estate began as London overspill to rehouse people from poor housing in Inner London. The area was once ancient woodland and later in agricultural use, particularly for Mitcham's lavender and herb industry. Between 1926 and 1929 the LCC acquired 334 hectares of former farmland south of Mitcham and west of the River Wandle, which was then part of the Urban Districts of Merton & Morden (322 acres), Carshalton (495 acres), Sutton and Cheam (5 acres). The estate was named after Lady Susan Mary St Helier, Councillor and LCC Alderman of from 1910-1927 who had campaigned for the improvement of housing facilities in London. However she died in 1931 before the estate was completed.

The land was acquired through County of London (Morden and Carshalton) Housing Order of December 1925, and building commenced on 29 July 1929. It was designed by LCC's Architects Department under G Topham Forrest as a self-contained community with shops, schools, churches, places of recreation and a railway station, and was built for the LCC by C J Wills and Sons. The roads were named after monastic establishments and the estate layout was inspired by the Garden City ideals then prevalent, following the principles of Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of Letchworth and Welwyn Garden Cities. Existing natural features and mature trees from the previous landscape were retained where possible in the verges of the roads, and more than an eighth of the estate was kept as open space, in the form of greens and shrubberies, sports and recreation grounds. To facilitate construction and to transport building materials round the estate, a light railway was built linked to sidings at Mitcham.

When completed St Helier Estate had 18 schools, 7 churches, 2 large pubs, and the large Gaumont cinema that later became a bingo hall. By 1938 there were 60 shops and 40,000 people were accommodated in 9,000 houses and flats. The portion of the estate in Sutton is south of Love Lane and Bishopsford Road, bounded to the east by Peterborough Road, with Westminster Road, Winchcombe Road and Buckhurst Avenue bounding the estate to the south, with Glastonbury Road to the west. A number of public open spaces are located in this part of the estate, including part of Rosehill Park West and East, St Helier Open Space and Revesby Wood (q.q.v.).

Sources consulted:

Susan Beattie, 'A Revolution in London Housing', 1980; Paul Harper & others, 'Merton in Pictures Book 4: St Helier Estate' (Merton Library & Heritage Services, 2nd ed. 2000)
Grid ref: TQ271666 (Middleton Circle)
Size in hectares: 47
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Area of special local character (part)
   

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