chapter  5
38 Pages

The Modern Flat

In November 1937, Anthony Bertram, design critic and sometime editor of

Design for Today, made a BBC broadcast on the subject of ‘Housing the Workers’.1 The

talk, which focused on a series of visits he had made to new municipal estates across

Britain, concluded with an account of three ‘outstanding’ schemes he had seen in

London. These were not LCC flats, however, as his listeners might have anticipated

given the rest of his discussion. Rather, they were the work of voluntary housing associ-

ations, being Kent House, Sassoon House and Kensal House. Bertram was unequivocal

in his praise for each. Kent House, he declared, was remarkable in its accommodation

and equipment while Sassoon House was ‘another excellent scheme’. However, he did

not devote much time to either of these, choosing instead to introduce his listeners to

Kensal House. Lauding its design and the collaborative process which had produced it,

and commending in particular the provision of two balconies per flat, he proclaimed the

scheme ‘really the last word in working-class flats’.