Philanthropic Housing in Lisson Grove

By the time the Booth map was published, in 1889, attempts were being made to improve housing conditions. Philanthropic Housing Societies were trying to provide cheap, healthy dwellings for the Working Class. This has been dealt with very thoroughly elsewhere.1 We are concerned only with some of its effects in Lisson Grove, where there is a wealth of examples.

Because the development was normally small scale, made by people who had limited funds but high ideals, there is a great variety of styles, from Victorian Gothic at 17-25 Bell Street, the Italianate Miles Buildings, the five-storey Christchurch tenement blocks in Lisson Street (now demolished) and the Sweetness and Light cottages in Ranston Street. None of these were Local Authority buildings as Councils were not yet allowed to build for rent.

Bowman's Buildings, 1878

Miles Buildings, 1884.

These schemes seem first to be first mooted in 1872 by the Metropolitan Works Board shown below. The squat, insanitary dwellings in Linton Place, together with one side of Corlett Street2, were to be removed and rebuilt.

The site outlined in black on the plan on the 1872 map was developed by The Industrial Dwellings Co., Chairman Sir Sydney Waterlow, in Gault brick as the Miles Buildings. Waterlow later gave his house and grounds to the public as Waterlow Park.


  1. e.g. Five Per Cent Philanthropy, by LN.Tarn, C.U.P., 1973
  2. Corlett St. LCC Minutes 31.1.1905. 119


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Updated October 19, 2011