Maternity and Child Welfare Centre and City of Westminster Day Nursery
Westminster Housing Trust
Immediate source of acquisition:
Records were donated by the Guidhall Library, Aldermanbury, London, EC2P 2 EJ.
Administrative / biographical background:
This collection of material was originally the property of Mr F Milton Harvey, F.R.I.B.A, architect to the Westminster Housing Trust Ltd from 1932 until 1954 and designed all of the blocks on the six acre site. He also designed the Maternity and Child Welfare Centre and City of Westminster Day Nursery, Bessborough Street was opened by H.M The Queen on 25 November 1937. The Westminster Health Society had acquired a house in Bessborough Street in 1919 to provide a maternity and child welfare centre for the area. The number of attendances of children at the centre grew rapidly from 3,068 in 1921 to 5,189 in 1935 and he number of home visits from 1,898 to 4,758. Westminster City Council therefore demolished the old building and constructed a specially designed centre on the same site. The maternity and child welfare clinic was located on the ground floor and included an ante natal clinic, demonstration and weighing room doctor's room and Health Visitors' room. The first and second floors of the building were devoted to a day nursery, including three bathrooms, kitchen and dining rooms, staff bedrooms and night nurseries. On the third floor were additional nurses' bedrooms, a small laundry and drying room.
The site of the initial Tachbrook Estate was acquired from the London County Council and the Westminster Housing Trust was formed to raise the necessary capital and develop the site. Between 1933 and 1935 seven five-storey blocks comprising 180 flats were built and were opened by H.R.H the Duke of Kent on 8th July 1935. In 1936 the Tachbrook Trust was formed to devote any profits from the Trust's Estate to housing or other forms of social welfare for Westminster citizens. On 29th June 1937 a new social centre (Walston House) was opened by H.R.H The Duchess of Kent, having been built through the generosity of Lady Walston. This building was subsequently converted into 22 flats for the elderly, a process that was completed in 1970.
An extension to the Estate was planned in 1938 on land leased from the Duke of Westminster but was delayed by World War Two. The plan was revived as part of the post-war rehousing programme, who gave the necessary planning consent lent all the money for the development. The new development fronting Aylesford Street comprised 100 flats and was named Malcolmson House after Mr Vernon Malcolmson, Chairman of the Trust from 1933 until his death in 1937. Included among the special features of the flats were a tradesman's delivery hatch and constant hot water. Malcolmson House was opened by H.M. The Queen Mother on 14th July 1949.
A further extension of the estate comprising 80 flats in three blocks was planned on land leased partly from Westminster City Council and partly from the Grosvenor Estate. The first block of 22 flats was called Cockburn House, named after Mrs Archibald Cockburn, a member of the Trust's Committee until her death in 1948. This block also incorporated a nursery school designed to accommodate forty children between he ages of two to five. Marsh House consisted of 17 flats and was named after the Treasurer of the Westminster Housing Trust, Mr Arthur E Marsh. The third block of 41 flats, Harvey House was named after the Trust's architect Mr F Milton Harvey. The new development was opened by H.R.H Princess Margaret on 22 October 1953.
Following the discover of significant cracks at the Tachbrook Estate, in 1972 the Housing Committee of Westminster City Council approved the transfer of he assets and liabilities of the Westminster Housing Trust to the Peabody Trust, who could undertake the necessary underpinning an modernisation of the estate.
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