The Power of Home: A 1950s Estate in 2020 Lockdown

24 June 2020

18:45 -19:45

As the world adapts to the covid 19 pandemic and the realities of lockdown, never has our focus been on the home so much as it is now.

Photographer and curator Sharon O’Neill gives a virtual tour of a London housing estate built in the 1950s and tells the story of how one architect’s vision of the ‘modern world’ is realised through the homes and the lives of it’s current residents.

Part of London County Council’s massive post-war house building programme to provide needed homes for working-class families, the five blocks on The Fitzhugh Estate in Wandsworth were designed by Sir John Leslie Martin, principal architect of the Royal Festival Hall, and completed in 1956.

Through her research and with archive and contemporary photographs, she explores Martin’s themes of modernism, environmentalism and the ‘power’ of a well-designed home to improve everyday life, as demonstrated in his writing and books from the 1930’s and the flats built in the 1950s and asks: ‘Has the power of his ideas stood the test of time as the current residents live in the future of his 1930s vision and is there anything we can learn as we begin to emerge from our ‘lockdown’ world?’


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