Tower Gardens Estate

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Tower Gardens Estate end terrace house

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.


LCC Cottage estates 1918–1939
Estate name Area No of dwellings Population 1938 Population density
Norbury 11 218 867 19.8 per acre (49/ha)
Old Oak 32 736 3519 23 per acre (57/ha)
Totterdown Fields 39 1262 32.4 per acre (80/ha)
Tower Gardens
White Hart Lane
98 783 5936 8 per acre (20/ha)
Becontree 2770 25769[a] 115652 9.3 per acre (23/ha)
Bellingham 252 2673 12004 10.6 per acre (26/ha)
Castelnau 51 644 2851 12.6 per acre (31/ha)
Dover House Estate
Roehampton Estate
147 1212 5383 8.2 per acre (20/ha)
Downham 600 7096 30032 11.8 per acre (29/ha)
Mottingham 202 2337 9009 11.6 per acre (29/ha)
St Helier 825 9068 39877 11 per acre (27/ha)
Watling 386 4034 19110 10.5 per acre (26/ha)
Wormholt 68 783 4078 11.5 per acre (28/ha)
Chingford[b] 217 1540 7.1 per acre (18/ha)
Hanwell (Ealing) 140 1587 6732 11.3 per acre (28/ha)
Headstone Lane 142 n.a 5000
Kenmore Park 58 654 2078 11.3 per acre (28/ha)
(Royal Borough of Greenwich)
21 380 1598 18.1 per acre (45/ha)
Whitefoot Lane (Downham) 49 n.a n.a.
Source:*Yelling, J.A. (1995). "Banishing London's slums: The interwar cottage estates" (PDF). Transactions. London and Middlesex Archeological Society. 46: 167–173. Retrieved 19 December 2016. Quotes: Rubinstein, 1991, Just like the country.
  1. ^ Source says 2589- transcription error
  2. ^ Part of a larger PRC estate around Huntsman Road

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, 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.[1]

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 Art Workers Guild. The façades change all over the estate and in places terraces of four houses were designed to look like country mansions.[1]

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 baths were a common feature due to the lack of bathrooms. Later houses benefited from new legislation and have front doors opening onto 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.


  1. ^ a b "Tower Gardens – Tottenham's Garden Suburb". Haringey Council. Retrieved 2015-05-01.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°36′00″N 0°05′13″W / 51.600°N 0.087°W / 51.600; -0.087