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…
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.
The Castle Lane buildings were once described as “The nicest flats you will never see. Hidden away in London…”
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.
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.
Despite being built for brewery workers it seems no expense was spared at Castle Lane.
Several examples of these old gated garden entrances are now melded in as part of the fencing!
Open staircases with arched or angled passageways beneath.
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.
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.
Henley Halebrown Rorrison are the controversial project’s designers.
Some tweets on Castle Lane:
— JD (@JustinVersion1) September 30, 2015
The local heritage society Thorney Island has concerns about the development especially as plans for affordable housing have not been honoured.
Surprise, surprise – the sleeping shelter houses in Castle Lane are being turned into luxury town houses by . . Land Securities
— Thorney Island Society+ Friends of St James’s Park (@ThorneyIslandSo) February 20, 2015
Hi @CityWestminster-could you kindly update us on what's happening to affordable housing at the Castle Lane development off Victoria Street?
— Thorney Island Society+ Friends of St James’s Park (@ThorneyIslandSo) March 19, 2015
This next tweet clearly shows just how much property Land Securities owns in Castle Lane. This proposed building is adjacent to Pine Apple Court.
— parmarbrook (@parmarbrook) February 16, 2015
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.
— Telegraph Breaking News (@TelegraphNews) December 19, 2015
Although that Telegraph article no longer exists (was it due to pressure from Labour?) an archived copy of that article can be found here.