LA 03

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Architectural model of Brixton Town Centre Redevelopment plan

Date rangeUnknown
LocationLambeth Archives (see all files stored here)


Thumbs up.png This file is truly delightful.
It is likely to bring a smile to your face, probably because it contains the sort of thing that makes trawling through dusty archive documents worthwhile. The thing in this file that makes your day might actually have nothing to do with its subject matter.

Context

In the 1960s, and through to the late 1970s, the London Borough of Lambeth was determined to do something about Brixton town centre, which was seen as dated, ugly and inadequate for traffic, shoppers and residents alike. In the 1960s the plan was to demolish everything and start again, but this was tempered with each revision until by about 1980 the Redevelopment Plan was much more modest. In the end, of course, nothing was ever done, and Brixton remains (despite its trendy paint job and nice paving) dated, ugly and inadequate for traffic, shoppers and residents alike. They should have bulldozed it while they had the chance.

Anyway, this item is an utterly fascinating and absorbing relic of the type that is so rarely found that you might not believe your own eyes. It's the original architectural model constructed in the 1960s to depict the planned concrete utopia that was to be Brixton Of The Future.

It's not listed in any catalogue and accessing it relies on knowing it's there. Ask the staff and they will sigh wearily before bringing it out of the stacks. It takes up most of the reading room's biggest table. Once it arrives, smile as sweetly as you can and ask if you can remove the perspex lid - only by doing so can you gently reassemble the fourteen spindly tower blocks and make it look more like Brixton and less like a Godzilla film.

Through the middle of the model is a high-level motorway viaduct - the South Cross Route of Ringway 1.

It's best viewed with the 1960s redevelopment plan book to hand, so that the diagrams can be compared with the model. Without doing so, some parts of the model seem rather cryptic and difficult to interpret.

Links to other files

LBL/BDD/1/16/1 Brixton Town Centre Redevelopment Plan

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall rebuilt the broken towers and took as many pictures as he could.