History

Draper House under construction 1964.jpg

Draper is a 50 year old, social housing estate completed in 1964, now with mixed residency: council tenants, private tenants, leaseholders, owned properties and shops.

The on-going property regeneration scheme in Elephant and Castle, is being built on the site of the demolished Heygate Estate whose 1,200 residents were ‘decanted’ outside of London and the estate is also next to the Elephant and Castle Town Centre Regeneration project.

It is a relatively large estate of around 300 homes; the 24 storey tower block of Draper House has 141 maisonettes and flats alongside the lower rise blocks, Sherston Court, Wollaston Close, Newington Butts and houses in Howell Walk.

When the tower block, Draper House was first built it was the tallest structure in London. The design was by Hubert Bennett of the London City Council’s (LCC’s) Architects Department and inspired by Le Corbusier. The Estate was part of the post-WWII comprehensive redevelopment of the E&C. Part of the Brutalist trend of the time, characterized by bulky blocks of abstract concrete forms like sculpture, Draper House and the estate are a great example of this modernist heritage.

Bennett went beyond the standard materials, however and used storey-height slabs of white, Italian marble creating white vertical bands running up the block as if to say, ‘nothing is too good for the ordinary man and woman’. Well regarded at the time, the building was featured in Architecture Review which said it, ‘sets a standard of clarity and vigour’.