Architect: Frederick Gibberd
Streatham Hill, London SW2
This excellently proportioned apartment, with private balcony, is situated on the fourth floor of Pullman Court, a seminal Grade II-listed development in Streatham Hill. Designed in 1933 by the architect Frederick Gibberd, it is among the finest examples of Modern Movement housing in the United Kingdom.
Pullman Court was originally designed to resemble an ocean liner, composed of a number of blocks of varying heights along an east-west axis. The north and south blocks are long narrow buildings of five floors, enclosing a central courtyard and manicured gardens.
The apartment retains many of the defining features that have earned Pullman Court its reputation with enthusiasts of Modernist architecture, including original Crittall windows, walnut sliding partitions and a private balcony with views over communal gardens. Pullman court also offers free parking to residents, provides fibre optic broadband and has a staffed full-service laundry facility.
The grounds of Pullman Court are arranged around several mature tress which pre-date the development itself. The apartments were originally designed to appeal to young professionals (each flat came with a wireless, a gas fire and an ice box built in) who wanted a “country retreat” out of the smog. There is an active residents’ committee at Pullman Court; many of the people who live there are genuinely passionate about the building, and this helps form a focus for the community, with summer barbeques and Christmas parties held in the landscaped grounds.
Pullman Court is located approximately 600 metres from Streatham Hill railway station, where regular trains run to Victoria with a journey time of around 17 minutes. The nearest Tube station is Brixton (Victoria Line) which is easily reached by a number of buses. Streatham Hill is served by particularly good bus links and is well placed for road access to the South. The open spaces of Brockwell Park are within close proximity.
Lease length: approx 84 years (the current owner is negotiating an extension on the lease).
Service charge: approx £1,912 per annum
Ground rent: approxx £10 per annum
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
Pullman Court in Streatham, South London, completed in 1936, was designed by Frederick Gibberd when he was just 23 years old. The design addressed the city’s housing shortage whilst working with a increasingly available modern materials and an innovative design. The project and was notable for allowing a modernist architect freedom of design on such a large scheme.
White-walled and concrete framed, there are 218 one- to four-bedroom apartments in total spread across three blocks and set amongst landscaped gardens. The blocks are organised in order to capitalise on natural daylight and in a way that is sensitive to the landscape. A belt of mature trees diminishes noise from the road.
Each apartment was equipped with bespoke furniture and lighting, a pioneering move by Gibberd to create a strong discourse between the building’s exterior and the interior environment.
In 1995 the external fabric of the buildings was expansively refurbished and the development was upgraded from a Grade II to Grade II*-Listing.
Sir Frederick Gibberd (1908-84) was one of Britain’s most influential Modern Movement architects, recognised both for his contributions to social housing and post-war town planning, and for his radical designs for a number of notable public and religious buildings. Born in Coventry in 1908, Gibberd went on to study at the Birmingham School of Architecture alongside F.R.S. Yorke (with whom he would later collaborate on a number of significant publications), under the instruction of renowned Arts and Crafts architect William Bidlake. Gibberd set up a private practice in 1930, winning his first commission for Pullman Court in Streatham at the age of 23 – an acclaimed project that led to commissions for a number of similar schemes, including Park Court in Sydenham, and Southgate’s Ellington Court. Increasingly recognised as the ‘flat’ architect, Gibberd, along with Yorke, co-wrote the influential publication ‘The Modern Flat’ in 1937. At this time Gibberd also became a member of the Modern Architectural Research Group (MARS) alongside other key figures of twentieth-century modernism including Serge Chermayeff, Wells Coates and Berthold Lubetkin. Unfit for service during the Second World War, Gibberd was appointed principal of the Architectural Association, ensuring students continued to receive training throughout this period. He also began to extensively study town planning, leading to his appointment in 1947 as planner for the new town of Harlow, Essex – recognised today as one of the most successful schemes of its kind. Gibberd also won commissions for a number of religious buildings, for which he is perhaps best known, including the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (1962-67) with its distinctive ‘crown of thorns’, and the London Central Mosque (1977-78) on the edge of Regent’s Park. Gibberd retired in 1978, but his practice (established in 1945) still operates today, whilst his own home and much-loved garden in Harlow remain open to the public. Read a personal account of Sir Frederick Gibberd, written by his grandson Matt Gibberd – Founding Director of The Modern House – here.
Key Residential Projects
Housing estates in London
Housing estate in Essex