Open House Festival

Central Hill Estate

housing, walk/tour, community/cultural

Roger Westman, Brian Roberts, Frank de Marco, Adrian Sansom, Ted Hollamby, Rosemary Stjernstedt, 1963

Central Hill Bowl (behind Gipsy Hill Police Station) next to Mural /

Tree-lined housing estate on the ridge of Central Hill & Crystal Palace, incorporating open spaces, views over London, gardens and sense of community. Rosemary Stjernstedt Ted Hollamby Adrian Sansom, Lambeth Borough Architects 1963.

Getting there


Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace


3, 322, 417, 450, 202

Additional travel info

Gipsy Hill Station is the closest station. There is a steep incline to Central Hill. Crystal Palace has the Overground Line but again there is a steep incline up to the the Crystal Palace Triangle towards Central Hill. It takes over 12 minutes to walk it.




Background to the Scheme

On one of the steepest sites in London, Ted Hollamby brought together a talented group of architects, including Rosemary Stjernstedt, Adrian Sansom and Roger Westman, to design 374 houses and flats to be built in a high-density, low-rise scheme. The homes were arranged in stepped terraces, taking advantage of the views across London from this tree-lined ridge.

At the time the estate was Lambeth’s newest and biggest housing estate. It provided residents with gardens, large terraces, play areas and grassed squares and a much-needed hostel for nurses from Croydon hospital. The estate is under threat of demolition by Lambeth Council who have already demolished Stjernstedts Nurses Hostel in an attempt to build a high-rise development against the wishes of the community.

Parker Morris Space Standards

Under the leadership of Rosemary Stjernstedt, the layout of Central Hill follows the contours of the landscape, keeping the existing trees in tact forming green corridors throughout the site. These walkways connect homes with playgrounds and green spaces with all cars kept to the periphery. This was Ted Hollamby's favourite estate in Lambeth as it was designed around the needs of the people and community. It is a low-rise high-density scheme on a complex site on one of the highest points in London. The design makes best use of the Parker Morris space standards with each housing unit having a private front garden, dual aspect and a large rear patio area over looking the city.

Secret Nuclear Bunker

To increase the density without building higher than the treeline, staggered housing blocks hug the southern border of the main road at Central Hill. Dual aspect flats at slightly different floor levels have balconies on both sides. With one block of housing over the shop, the other at Lunham Road, Peartree House is situated over a secret nuclear bunker one of the first projects built on the site in 1963.

Save Central Hill Community Campaign

The residents of Central Hill have been fighting to save their homes and community against the backdrop of demolition and regeneration forced upon them by Lambeth Council and their various consultants. Lambeth created its own Special Purpose Vehicle to bypass its own planning process to kick start demolition even before a resident ballot or proper environmental assessments have been made. Central Hill is one of six estates being demolished to make way for housing that does not replace the social housing that it wished to replace.


Back to top of page