Went up KingsHill today. The lights were just clicking on in the gangways and but for a few people coming down the long ramp to Heygate Road, the estate was empty. I walked up the stairs to the top level, taking a few shots with my little camera, trying to get the last of the light. Here and there was an occupied flat with an open door and a light in the window, but most of the estate was blocked off – perhaps one or two flats per level were open.  I saw exactly two other people – a young woman in a beret walking down on the gangway to the stairs on the opposite end, a black woman caught in silhouette, talking to someone in an open doorway at the very edge of the estate. 

I’d never been up KingsHill before. When I lived on Claydon, I used to look out at the building every morning when I woke up. Sometimes a crescent moon would sit directly above, or the setting sun would reflect off the gangways, but the tower almost always loomed up like a keelhauled battleship behind the line of trees along Heygate Road. I’d heard it was the worst estate on the Heygate, plagued by crackhouses, and squatters, but perhaps that was just rumour, and my own prejudice. It seemed slightly unknowable, like the surface of another planet, and I entered it with a good deal more trepidation than I would Claydon or the building along New Kent Road, even though it is not that much bigger or, at this point, not that much more deserted. 
The views are fantasitc. You can see right across the northern half of the Elephant, up through Burough and the Thames, right to St. Paul and the City, the green between the towers masks a good deal of the rest of the estate. You don’t think about the green when you see the estate from the outside, but in the roughly hexagonal shape created by the towers the green, the two-story buildings and even the rampways create an almost pleasant space. Almost, because you look up and see the towers in every direction, peering down with those prison yard gangways, but from this vantage you can at least see what the architects had in mind. 


  1. Hi,

    I’m a postgrad at the LCC doing a project on the Heygate Estate.

    I was wondering if there was any chance that I could meet with you sometime for a short audio interview to talk about your experiences and blog?



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