One side of our Pimlico street is Cubitt white stucco, vestigially Italianate detailing, balconies. But the opposite terraces, having decayed beyond a point than was acceptable in even the raffish post-Second World War years, were knocked down and replaced by the Lillington Gardens housing estate.
Begun in 1961, it was remarkable for many things-the verdure, the human scale, the beautiful brick-laid paths, but, above all, the fact that it was not a tower block. Architectural students used to study it. What it wasn’t, however, was Cubitt. It took its note from G. E. Street’s fine church of St James the Less on Vauxhall Bridge Road: red brick, not stucco.
So our residents’ association has been nonplussed by the Jubilee. How to hold a street party in only half a street? I’m not sure we thought of ourselves as street-party people. But imagine my joy to receive a letter from the vicar of St James the Less suggesting we team up.
She wants to get Lillington Gardens on board, plus one or two other local groups. Whatever form the celebration takes, bonds will have been formed where none previously existed. We’ll grumble about the Olympics, toast The Queen and feel warm about this patch of London. And to think that I nearly arranged for us to spend the half-term in Spain.
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