IMG 2862 640x425 - Castle Lane

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Castle Lane is a lovely tree lined road in the centre of London. The three groups of buildings that lead off Palace Street, Victoria are architecturally significant.
The buildings are being controversially turned into luxury homes for the rich…
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These lovely old flats have many unique features evoking memories of Swindon or Port Sunlight, for they once provided accommodation for the workers of Elliot’s, later the Stag, Brewery. Its workers only had to step out of their doors and practically walk straight into the brewery itself.
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The Castle Lane buildings were once described as “The nicest flats you will never see. Hidden away in London…”
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The flats were built in 1882 as part of a major expansion at Elliot’s. The site eventually became the huge Watney’s Stag Brewery. That was closed in the 1960’s and the Castle Lane buildings are now the only reminder there was once a huge brewery in Victoria.
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Some historical pictures from Collage show the properties as they were. This Collage shows the eastern half of Castle Lane, The end of the flats can be seen at far left and the small access road is known as Pine Apple Court. This other Collage shows a westward view with the Castle Lane buildings better seen.
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Despite being built for brewery workers it seems no expense was spared at Castle Lane.
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Several examples of these old gated garden entrances are now melded in as part of the fencing!
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Open staircases with arched or angled passageways beneath.
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A significant phase in the history of the Castle Lane buildings was the use as an important Central London hostel for the homeless. Look Ahead purchased the eastern block for £500,000 in 1975 and that became known as the Victoria Hostel, the work taking six years to complete.
Look Ahead Care and Support
In 1993 the scheme won a national housing award from both the Department of Environment and Royal Institute of British Architects. The adjacent properties on the west side, known as the Alexandra Building and the South Building were later purchased to expand the hostel scheme. Apparently Peter Deer & Associates were involved in these later redesigns.
In 2012 the use of Castle Lane as a hostel ceased and Look Ahead moved to Vauxhall Bridge Road.
The properties are currently the subject for Land Securities who aim to provide 63 luxury homes. There’s no provision for affordable housing of any sort.
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Henley Halebrown Rorrison are the controversial project’s designers.
Some tweets on Castle Lane:


The local heritage society Thorney Island has concerns about the development especially as plans for affordable housing have not been honoured.


This next tweet clearly shows just how much property Land Securities owns in Castle Lane. This proposed building is adjacent to Pine Apple Court.


Castle Lane was recently embroiled in controversy when one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest colleagues, Jon Lansman the director of Momentum, was accused of being associated with an ‘asset-stripping’ company that made considerable profit on the sale of the Castle Lane properties.


Although that Telegraph article no longer exists (was it due to pressure from Labour?) an archived copy of that article can be found here.
telegraph - Castle Lane

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5 Comments

  1. I grew up in Castle Lane, living in Nos 27 and 34 from 1953-1967. Those buildings are indeed special. Regardless of who lives in them it is important their facia be preserved. It would be great to have a plaque erected on a wall outlining the link to the stag brewery, the brewery workers and their families. It is my default place to visit every time I’m in town.

    1. Agree entirely a plaque should be made. They are lovely buildings and should be kept intact. As you say, very little indication to show their links to the Stag Brewery and this should be remedied.

  2. Walk down here most days – never knew they were workers’ houses for a brewer – knew they were “something” though…looks like they will be developed for posh housing (sigh!), but they MUST keep the facades!

  3. I lived here from 1983 to 1990 and it was not a “homeless hostel”, it was intended as a springboard for young people intending to live in London who were mostly civil servants at the home office. Indeed it was the unwritten rule that the unemployed couldn’t get a room there, the hostel being run by a crusty old major and his wife. A new manager took over in about 1988 and the place became more akin to a homeless hostel.
    The dates in the article are wrong since all three blocks were fully in use by 1983.

    1. Nice to hear this – and that I may even have met you at the Home Office! Times in with the time I was employed as a civvy. I used sources which could have been wrong – information on Castle Lane is very hard to come by – and akin to scraping the bottom of the barrel! Thanks.

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