Great Arthur House, Golden Lane Estate

Great Arthur House dominates the estate.  It stand roughly in the centre and contains flats on 16 storeys – the highest block of flats in England at the time it was built. One side faces west towards Smithfield and nearer home overlooks Crescent House. The other side faces east towards the East End. There are 120 flats in the block. They are grouped so that there are 8 one-bedroom flats in handed pairs on each upper floor.  I have no information on where the Great Arthur name came from.

Great Arthur House flat plans

Please note. These plans are illustrations and approximations only. They illustrate types of flats. They don’t show the actual demise, size, layout or dimensions of any particular flat. Individual flats may differ, or have been altered.

1 Bed East (left)


1 Bed East (right)


1 Bed West (left)


1 Bed West (right)


Detailed information about Great Arthur House


  • Glazed screen between the kitchen and the dining area.
  • The flats have a sliding partition between the living room and the bedroom.
  • The flats are screened from the central corridor by a series of fitted cupboards.

Structure and layout of building

  • 17 storeys, 16 of flats, ground-floor estate offices,  and basement.
  • Reinforced concrete construction on concrete raft foundations.
  • The side walls were given a painted pick-hammered finish.
  • The main east and west elevations are clad in golden yellow opaque and clear glass in aluminium frame.
  • The exterior of the ground floor is partly pick-hammered concrete and partly grey brick..


  • The aluminium frame holding the yellow cladding also forms the windows.
  • The main part of the window slides open horizontally. They have a distinctive internal security rail. The top window section opens outwards and upwards.
  • There are timber windows to kitchens and bathrooms.


  • Two sets of cantilevered grey-painted concrete balconies run down the front and the back of the building.
  • Each balcony is divided by a wired glass screen to provide a balcony for the flats on either side, which is entered via timber side doors from living rooms.
  • There are black-painted metal railings on top and to form the sides of the balcony.

Staircase and entrance

There is a large lift lobby in the centre, next to an open way under the building.

Secondary access

  • There is a glazed lean-to on the north side which leads to escape stairs. The rubbish chutes in yellow-painted columns are inside on either side of the lobby.
  • There is another set of escape stairs and exit on the south side which opens into a basement area.


  • The roof is asphalted roof, reached by open staircases.
  • The roof was set out as a rooftop water garden on two main levels with timber pergola, stepping stones and a pool.
  • The water tank and lift motor room are disguised behind an aerofoil canopy – described as ‘a concrete aeroplane’ – which is the distinctive decorative feature of the estate.