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