Tower Gardens Estate

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Tower Gardens in North Tottenham is a distinctive semi-circular estate bounded by Lordship Lane and the Roundway. Constructed between 1904 and 1928, it was one of the first municipal "cottage estates" in the world. It is now a conservation area and is featured in the annual London Open City architecture weekend held third weekend in September. When first built by the London County Council (LCC) it was known as the White Hart Lane Estate.

The Conservation Area comprises the oldest parts of the estate, built by the London County Council between 1904 and 1913. It is one of the first "garden suburbs" in the world and is characterised by good quality and practical buildings that show an inventive use of materials and vernacular motifs typical of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Along with Hampstead Garden Suburb (see external links section), Tower Gardens is one of the most important estates of its type in London.

The estate consists of 954 houses arranged in 24 streets, each with its own architectural style. Their appearance was influenced by the Garden City Movement founded by Sir Ebenezer Howard. The properties are mostly two-up, two-down with some three bed houses and also flats in Topham Square. The houses remain cheap by London standards.

The curiously named streets belie the area's history. Most appear to be named after someone who once owned the land, from Siward, Earl of Northumberland, in the time of Edward the Confessor, through to Thomas Smith in 1792. A project by Risley Avenue School in conjunction with Bruce Castle Museum identified the streets as named after the 'Lord's of Tottenham'.


The terraced houses in N17 are small and were not expensively built but they have lots of little interesting architectural features which differ with every street. They are predominantly brick, tile and pebble dash cottages in a style that owes something to the Arts and Crafts movement of the time construction was under the architect W.E Riley a member of the artworkers guild. The façades change all over the estate and in places terraces of four houses were designed to look like country mansions.

Features of interest include the gables, gable dormers, impressive chimneys, long roofs, low eaves, porches and two story projecting bays. Images can be found in the Conway Library's online collection.

Earlier houses are small and have front doors opening into the single reception room. When they were built they would have had outside toilets. Tin bath's were a common feature due to no bathrooms. Later houses benefited from new legislation and have front doors opening on to a hall with stairs and often a second reception room.

Influence of the Garden Suburb[edit]

Whilst the design of the estate was influenced by the Garden City Movement, the grid layout of the lower half of the estate was not entirely in the tradition of the garden suburbs, nor was the density of housing. However some houses were set back behind small greens and a large green area was provided for recreation including tennis and bowls. The trees lining the streets are protected and provide a boulevard feel, particularly Risley Avenue, privet hedges to the front fascia of the properties within the conservation area are protected.

Tower Gardens Streets[edit]

  • Risley Avenue
  • Tower Gardens Road
  • Gospatrick Road
  • Henningham Road
  • Teynton Terrace
  • Chesthunte Road
  • Wateville Road
  • Kevelioc Road
  • Spigurnell Road
  • Waltheof Avenue
  • Siward Road
  • Shobden Road
  • Walden Road
  • Awlfield Avenue
  • Cumberton Road
  • Topham Square
  • Balliol Road
  • Bennington Road
  • De Quincey Road
  • Smithson Road
  • Waltheof Gardens
  • Gedeney Road
  • Deyncourt Road

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°36′00″N 0°05′13″W / 51.600°N 0.087°W / 51.600; -0.087 :Tower Gardens Residents group(former Tower Garden Network)