Welcome to Corringham

 

Hector House
(1961 - 1971)

To develop a new building with "48 high class residential maisonettes" on the land previously occupied by the Uffington Hotel, property developer Hector Properties Investments and freeholder Ms Wimbush chose the architects' firm Douglas Stephen & Partners. Kenneth Frampton, who worked for Douglas Stephen & Partners at that time, was employed as the "job architect" in 1960. The total project was to cost at most £150,000.

Maquette of Hector House / Corringham

Plans were made and altered to satisfy London County Council's requirements. Final planning permission was granted in 1962. The main issue appears to have been to fit the new building with 48 apartments in the same volume as the original buildings. Kenneth Frampton started off with a design comprising two-storey maisonettes at the front and back of the building, but the resulting plans were rejected. This eventually led to application of the scissor design, originating from the London County Council's Architects' Department. All the one-bedroom apartments were placed at the bottom of the building, so that at least its base was narrow enough to fit the allocated space.

London County Council seems to have been rather worried about traffic flow on the ramp to the underground parking garage. Planning permission was granted on the explicit condition that traffic lights would be installed at the top and bottom of the ramp. It was also specified that the parking spaces in the garage were only to be used by residents of the block and their visitors.

The building - only the second on this site ever! - was completed in 1964. The entrance canopy was added last after a separate planning application. The property development company, Hector Properties Investments, named the building Hector House.

Cover of Erdman's brochure (1964)

Advert for Hector House / Corringham flats (The Times, May 14th 1964)

Edward Erdman and Co in Mayfair were sole agents to market the new apartments on behalf of Hector Properties Investments and the freeholder Ms Wimbush. Erdman advertised in The Times and produced an impressive information pack for prospective tenants. The "skilful design" of the block was mentioned, as was its "advantageous location" with "excellent shopping facilities immediately to hand". The kitchen equipment, with "stainless steel double sinks and mixer taps, ample working surfaces and to obviate condensation a specially designed fan operated extractor hood", was also extremely modern for its time. Soon all flats were let, many to companies who rented several for their employees.

A few more modern buildings were constructed in the area in the late 1960s. The Royal Lancaster Hotel, built in 1967, is the tallest tower in the area and stands where Bayard's Watering Place once was. Hyde Park Towers, diagonally opposite 13-16 Craven Hill Gardens, was built in the 1970s. Lancaster Gate's Christ Church was converted into luxury flats in 1981. By that time, the conservationist movement was gaining support; 100 Leinster Terrace, where J.M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan, was saved.