Design of the flats

Chamberlin Powell and Bon provided this explanation of the exact layout and construction of the flats, using a drawing of a section – a vertical slice through floors – combining different flat types for demonstration purposes.

Areas and particular features of the flats

I. Living room. Close to the south balcony.  An area which can be an additional bedroom/study.

II. Dining area. This is part of the living room which was designated as a dining area. It obtains light from a top-lit stair.

III. North bedroom. There is a hanging cupboard which can be used as a connection with the big south bedroom. Light from the south reaches the bedroom from the clerestory light over the staircase via fixed lights in a partition. (For some reason, the big south bedroom on the left of the sectional drawing is not numbered.)

IV. Kitchen. This has built-in cupboards with drawers and shelves, a servery, and a hardwood worktop with shelves and gas meter underneath. There is a full-height larder space for either gas or electric cooker, and a built in hardwood worktop under the window which could be lifted off to accommodate a 3’ high refrigerator (which was standard at the time).

V. Entrance lobby. There is a view from the access gallery through the front door and lobby into the living room. An electric doorbell and lights are fixed to the letter box.

VI. Dining area. This is a part of the living room under the open staircase which was designated as a dining area. The dining area receives light from both the kitchen window and the double-height window in the stairwell between the cantilevered stair treads.

VII. Living room. There is a cantilevered concrete staircase, and a vertical sliding door to the south balcony. The carpeting of the three bottom treads of the stairs was fixed as a sample for tenants wanting a stair carpet.

Key to the composite section

This is the key as provided by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon with the diagram.

  1. Three ply felt on t and g softwood boarding, fascia in sheet aluminium.
  2. Hardwood sill protected by lead flashing.
  3. r c roof, 2 inches, Vermiculite screed, asphalt and marble chippings
  4. Standard 4” x 2” softwood framing used for all internal framed partitions, extends through two floors to the top of the roof light. Fixed lights and glass louvres complete with frames applied from outside, opening lights at louvres fitted from the inside.
  5. ‘Verbundplatten’ in-filling in framed partition with continuous shelf on bedroom side for stiffening
  6. Curtain track extending over inside of brick pier
  7. Coloured ‘Muroglass’ cladding and sliding windows are both held by specially extruded aluminium frames screamed screwed to softwood frame with Asbestolux linings at top floor and north elevation, and to softwood battens in ‘paramount dry partitions’ on the south on the lower floors. In both cases these panels are braced by softwood shelves on the inside.
  8. Softwood floor on battens on concrete over access gallery
  9. Frameless sliders in polished plate with full height grip and draft excluder running in felt fixed on site into groove in the hardwood frame
  10. External cladding in 3/16” sheet glass above sill and 3/8” plywood below sill bedded in putty and fixed to 7” x 2” hardwood frame by 2” x 1” hardwood battens from the outside. The bottom half is insulated by ½” fibreboard with convection heater on inside concealed by aluminium faced Asbestolux panels.
  11. All visible concrete fair-faced and where exposed to the weather left unpainted. The balcony up-stand on the north is structural and continues through brick piers. All bottom and side edges are chamfered at 45° and throatings are provided throughout. The joints of the plywood shuttering coincide with the elevational grid.
  12. Concrete balcony front, not structural
  13. Glazed aluminium door to balcony, sliding vertically and counterbalanced by top light which, for easy cleaning, can be lowered to 4 feet above floor level. The bottom glass panel is in toughened sheet for safety. The heating coil above the door prevents cold downdraughts and, being fixed within the depth of the aluminium frame, cannot cause any pattern staining.
  14. 1” ‘Kahr’ popular style S hardwood veneer floor lightly nailed to 2” x 1” battens on 6” wide strips of ½” insulation board which rests on the concrete floor. Battens and insulation board are held in place by bitumen and the floorboards are nailed to the concrete only on the perimeter of the room and in the centre, in order to reduce sound transmission to a minimum. The hardwood veneer has been finished with a plastic coat before laying, and no sanding was done on site
  15. Aluminium sliding windows designed to over-slide for easy cleaning.
  16. Flow and return pipe to heating coil (13 above) provide heating to south bedroom via duct in timber floor, provided with aluminium ‘hit and miss’ ventilator
  17. Projecting curtain track and pelmet across balcony door.
  18. Private stairs, concrete – finished in blue quarry tiling providing access to sunken courts from ground floor living room.
  19. 13½” brick piers in Uxbridge flint No. 92, purple sand/lime facing bricks with tinted weather pointing used on all external brickwork throughout
  20. Concrete paving flags.
  21. The floors of the escape balconies between north bedrooms consist of purpose-made m. s. grilles, shot-blasted and galvanised, which allow adequate daylighting to reach the kitchen window underneath
  22. Basement corridor fair-faced concrete walls finished in emulsion paint
  23. Basement stores with braced ledged and battened doors hinged from softwood plates bolted through 3” on-edge brick partitions. The stores are ventilated through a 3” gap at the bottom and a 1’6” high opening above the door, the latter being protected by 2” by ¼” m. s. flats laid horizontally on each brick
  24. Site heating ring mains suspended from concrete ceiling
  25. 9” structural crosswalls in Warnham semi-engineering bricks on ground and first floors and flettons on the top four floors
  26. Reinforced concrete foundations taken down to ballast level.

A. Detail of strap fixing
B. Precast cantilevered concrete treads with lino inserts on top surface bedded in and running across 9” brick walls. Balustrade in m. s. 1½” diameter tube with banisters in 3/8” diameter m. s. rod passing the concrete treads and held by welded washers and dome-headed nuts.
C. Central duct containing gas, all water services, telephone, and waste pipes.
D. Plaster partition on expanded metal fixed to 1½” x ¼” m. s. strap hangers supporting timber bedroom floor.
E. Calorifier in airing cupboard with cold water storage tank extending over both cupboard and entrance to bathroom.
F. The screen separating the living room from the kitchen consists of a full height kitchen cupboard with shallow bookshelves on the living room side; a servery hatch in a full-height window gives additional light to the dining area and allows children to be supervised in the kitchen when playing in the living room; a hardwood worktop as a continuation of the one fixed along the crosswall and external wall has shelves and a gas meter underneath – the latter being accessible through a hinged flap in the worktop.