Bevin Court

A bomb drops in Clerkenwell, an area of dignified terraced houses built of yellow London Stock brick with stone trimmings, and leaves a bit of a mess. So what do you build there? A rather unpleasant “pile ’em high” creation called Bevin Court, that’s what.

To be honest it’s not that bad…it was designed and built by Tecton and Lubetkin, some of the best exponents of modern architecture (we met them at the Cranbrook Estate near Mile End on the Central Line) so it shouldn’t be too awful. But they were working in post-war austerity, and many of the elements they’d normally include (balconies, communal facilities…) were ruled off the agenda.

Apparently Lenin lived on this site for a while, so it nearly got named Lenin House: in the event it picked up the name of Ernest Bevin, who was Foreign Secretary at the time and a staunch anti-communist. The building is now Grade II Listed, has its own Wikipedia article on Bevin Court, and has reportedly recently been refurbished. Goodness knows how bad it looked before they refreshed it…

As for the entry sign… pretty ghastly.