Sir Thomas More Estate

In 1905, the Peabody Trust, a foundation established in 1862, had two hundred and twenty-six buildings to its credit. Its stated intention – “to finance the construction of housing for the poor by bringing the maximum of developments in terms of hygiene, comfort, collective recreation, all with affordable rental costs, – gave birth to buildings of a very recognizable type. The latter rose on five floors, plus another in the center of the plan to house the dryers. Each floor consisted of four dwellings which, although self-contained, were still thought of as “rooms” • with a separate toilet and back kitchen shared by two apartments. Other common facilities included laundries equipped with water heaters and sinks for washing clothes. Compared to other social housing programs built later, the rooms in Peabody buildings were spacious: 3.45 x 4 meters for living rooms and 3 x 4 meters for bedrooms, with a ceiling height of 2.60. meters. In his 1905 book, Modern Housing in Town and Country, James Cormes cited the Peabody buildings at Herne Hill in South London as a good example of this type of housing. habitat, especially because it was the first to offer, together with buildings with small housing, five-room cottages for large families. At a time when sanitation had become a priority, local authorities and developers were building one-, two- and three-room apartments with shared utility rooms and toilets in all areas of London. Entrepreneurs even measured the effectiveness of their “hygienic dwellings”, based on statistics showing a decrease in the mortality rate of the inhabitants. The fear of unhealthy and unhealthy toil and dirty and poorly ventilated back rooms continued to exert a significant influence on project studies. The somewhat paternalistic view of the Peabody Trust was not shared by all proponents. While independent apartments would, of course, become the norm, they often had a back kitchen and toilets – ventilated and accessed by a balcony or a covered courtyard – placed away from habitable rooms. The Sir Thomas More Estate, built in Beaufort Street by the Chelsea City Council, was one of the first buildings to offer self-contained apartments with their own toilets and utility rooms, between which open balconies served as ‘airlock’. The interconnecting rooms, which were still very common, were considered uncomfortable in Britain, where all the dwellings had good ceiling height and a double orientation to ensure efficient ventilation. The six-storey buildings were designed so that the living rooms face the street or a playground at least 12 meters wide so that daylight reaches the lower levels. The staircases and landings, grouped together in a compact arrangement, made it possible to free up the maximum space. Although each home had a back kitchen, hot water was centralized and in the morning it was available in kettles at a good temperature so that tenants did not have to make hot water. fire for breakfast. Shared bathrooms were installed in the basement with hot and cold water. The way in which the use of spaces was thought is expressed by a great attention to detail in the design of interiors. Drawings have been published showing hooks in the vestibules, outdoor larders, buffets with hooks for the cups and cupboards with shelves and rods in each room. In the living rooms, the fireplace was equipped with a cast iron stove and mantle while the scullery was well equipped, with sink, hot water tank, charcoal stove and gas stove with prepayment meter.


Civil Engineer


Peabody Trust


Time & Place






Beaufort Street, London, Vereinigtes Königreich



Floors: 5


Height: 15


Staircases: 1

Units per Staircase 

Units per staircase: 5

Units per Floor 

Units per floor: 5


Unit Area

Plot Area

Floor Area Typical

Area Total

Podium Area

Courtyard Area

Ground floor Area


Parking Spaces



5 appartments