Please excuse my iPhone photos.
I've wanted to visit Alexandra Road for absolutely ages. It's one of those excellent examples of a 1960s estate that just works and also looks pretty awesome. It's grade II* listed.
The estate, known colloquially as Rowley Way, was designed by Neave Brown for Camden Council's architects' department in 1968. It was generally a golden era for council housing in the borough and Brown also designed Fleet Road (where he now lives). Here he is talking about what architecture is, filmed at Alexandra Road.
I went along to visit on the Open House weekend. It was pretty busy and these people milling around were waiting to go see one of the flats that was open.
I was with my friend and her new brand new baby Alice, and unfortunately the flat was up some steep steps, so we gave that a miss.
Alexandra Road is essentially three blocks running parallel to each other alongside one of the main railway lines out of London. The western most block forms an eight storey barrier, backing onto the train tracks.
|Photo: Jamie Barras|
We eventually found a working lift to take us up to the walkway on the seventh floor. I say working because one of the residents who got the lift with us complained that they "hardly ever work" - she'd been living there since it first opened.
The estate has a very active resident's association - there's yoga classes, film nights and they even have their own beehives and make honey! The group is also campaigning against High Speed 2 (the proposed new railway connecting Euston and Birmingham in the first instance), which would see three tunnels running underneath the estate plus a vent installed on the site where the shops and flats at the Loudon Road entrance are.
Further up the estate is its park, which recently got £1.5 million of Heritage Lottery Funding to help make it prettier.
I liked seeing all the different frontages to the flats.
It's definitely worth going to see the flats if you can (maybe next year at Open House!). Here is a peek inside some (taken from here).
Ainsworth Way is just next door.