Angell Town

Angell Town, Lambeth

A large, municipally built housing complex on the Brixton/Stockwell border

Hidden London: Angell Town <em/>c.2000

Angell Town takes its name from the eccentric landowner John Angell, who died in 1784. His grand­fa­ther, Justinian, had acquired the property by marriage. Angell Town was built up in the early 19th century as a desirable estate for the new middle classes.

The church of St John the Evan­ge­list was built in 1852–3, designed by Benjamin Ferrey in the Perpen­dic­ular style.

Most of the old town was replaced in the 1970s by a council estate that combined 1960s-style blocks with the newer concept of overhead walkways and linking bridges, some of which were later removed in an attempt to prevent robbers and vandals making easy getaways. A bridge was supposed to cross Brixton Road to the social facil­i­ties on the Stockwell Park estate, but it was never built.

Angell Town soon gained a repu­ta­tion for neglect and decline and became stig­ma­tised as a sink estate. In a scheme notable for the high degree of residents’ partic­i­pa­tion in the consul­ta­tive process, the estate was radically rede­vel­oped from the mid-1990s.

The deck-access system was converted to a street format based on terraced homes with indi­vidual entrances and unused garages were replaced with shops and community facil­i­ties.

After a long period of neglect, a successful fundraising programme enabled St John’s church to be restored to full use as a place of worship in 2002. A neigh­bour­hood nursery offering afford­able childcare for under-fives has been created in the formerly derelict east end of the building. In addition to Angell Town itself, St John’s parish encom­passes several other housing estates.

At St John’s Angell Town C of E primary school, pupils come from a wide range of minority ethnic back­grounds, with the largest group being of Black African heritage. About two-thirds of the pupils speak English as an addi­tional language.

Postal district: SW9