Hide Tower from Vincent Square


This 1961 tower block contrasts with the 19th Century buildings of Vincent Square. It is in SW1, Westminster, near Tate Modern.

An “early use” of pre-cast concrete according to Pevsner(1), who also tells me that the architect was Stillman and Eastwick Field for Westminster City Council. I went and looked through the “long bands of fenestration” at the “Brutalist exposed staircase”.

The Hide Tower Resident Management Board is composed of, and run by, residents, according to their website.
They say:

We are responsible for providing the residents of Hide Tower with these services

day-to-day repairs
letting flats
mutual exchanges
tenancy checks
management transfers
admitting or denying right to buy applications
general enquiries

CityWest Homes is responsible for

collecting rent from tenants
taking legal action against residents, if necessary

From “A letter from Pimlco”  (sic) website, written by people who live in the tower, I learned that:

Approximately a quarter of the accommodation is privately rented; the other half is rented from Westminster City Council and the remainder is owner occupied.

I thought it was interesting that the residents themselves, via their Board, are responsible for “admitting or denying right-to-buy” applications. I wonder what their criteria are.

While I drew this picture, there was continual drilling coming from the basement of the house to the right of the picture. They were evidently excavating the basement. Piles of rubble were in the front garden. As I walked past, I smelt pine sawdust.

Behind me were cheers and shouts of encouragement to players of a team game on the grass of Vincent Square. Young people in purple and grey uniforms walked past. One young man with a rucksack said to me, “It’s really great, what you are drawing, really great”. That was encouraging.

An older man stopped, and said “You need a stall”. I thought that’s what he said. I wondered if he meant I should set up a stall, selling pictures from the railings of Vincent Square, as they do along the railings of Kensington Gardens. I said nothing, and must have looked baffled. He repeated his assertion, and then I realised he had said “stool”, “you need a stool to sit on”. I have in fact wondered about a stool. And I do have my suitcase, which I can sit on, though it is very low. I pointed out that if I sat down, the parked car would obstruct my view. “Trust a woman’s logic!” pronounced the man. I thought that was anyone’s logic. No-one, man or woman, could see through the very opaque Citroen. But I said nothing.  He waved and took off with a grin, as though he had got the better of me, which perhaps he had. I was puzzling that, for several minutes.

Then I went and had a mug of tea in the Regency Café, 90p.

(1) Nikolaus Pevsner and Simon Bradley, “The Buildings of England: London 6, Westmenster”

2 thoughts on “Hide Tower from Vincent Square”

  1. “the young man with the rucksack” was right. The ability to see interest and beauty in a mundane urban setting is a real talent.


    1. Thanks David! This tower is particularly striking as it stands isolated from the surrounding buildings. It has character – I think. I hope your drawing is going well.


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