UK Housing Wiki

The Redriff Estate was a council estate in Surrey Docks ward of the Rotherhithe area of Southwark, London. The estate stands relatively isolated from other social housing projects in Rotherhithe, and was built in the 1930s as a community estate - a prototype for the future. The estate is encircled by a collection of connected streets: Rotherhithe Street, Elgar Street, Gulliver Street, and Odessa Street.

The site of the estate was formerly divided into plots for high quality housing by the Bedford Estate Trustees but the surrounding dock industries made it an unattractive location to live. What was built was demolished in 1930 and the street pattern laid out by the Trustees removed. Construction of the Redriff Estate began in 1931 and was completed in 1940. The cost of re-housing the new residents was £183 per head. The flats were gas lit and had solid fuel cooking ranges, unusual for this date. This was probably due to the Bermondsey Borough Council electricity works at Spa Road being already working at full capacity.

The estate was badly damaged right at the outset of the Blitz, with 126 flats being destroyed or gutted by fire. Despite post war repairs, all residents were offered new houses in the land vacated by Surrey Docks and most took up the offer and left from 1981. The flats became empty, squatted and vandalised as people moved away. In 1988 a deal was struck with Southwark Council and a consortium of six housing associations, led by South London Family Association, to refurbish 229 dwellings on the Redriff Estate for rent and shared ownership, and to develop 270 new homes for rent on adjoining LDDC owned sites. This scheme attracted the largest ever Housing Corporation grant made to that date in South London of £22 million. The LDDC provided £5.4 million over and above the transfer of its sites.

Improvements to the estate included the demolition of a school and community facilities that cluttered the centre of the estate. This allowed for the creation of a wide, open, landscaped space in the centre for the residents. One block on Odessa Street was demolished.

All the blocks are 3 to 4 storeys tall and have deck-accessed flats. The only named blocks are Gabriel House, on Odessa Street, and Walker House, on Gulliver Street.