Marshalsea estate in Southwark consists of three blocks on separate sites. They’re called Douglas, Ilfracombe and Monarch Flats, and at first glance they look like typical 19th century Peabody blocks. However, they were actually built by different organisations and have only belonged to us for about 60 years.

The Douglas flats were built by Improved Industrial Dwellings Company (IIDC) in 1886 as part of a slum clearance scheme. The company was founded in 1863 by Sydney Waterlow, a stationer and printer. Like George Peabody, he moved into banking and became interested in philanthropy. Waterlow was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1872. He also became a Member of Parliament.

The IIDC built homes which were self-contained, unlike the earliest Peabody flats, and their rents were slightly higher than Peabody's. When the building was new, Douglas Flats housed 400 people in 144 homes. We bought the flats in 1964. We also now own Bricklayers Arms, Ebury estate and Chelsea Gardens, all formerly IIDC properties.

Ilfracombe Flats and Monarch Flats stand on sites which are triangular in shape. Both blocks were built in 1888 by James Hartnoll, who was born in Southwark in 1853 and died at the age of 46. By then he had made a fortune building working-class housing all over London. He seems to have done this for commercial reasons rather than charitable ones.

We bought these flats in 1970, along with Ipsden Buildings and Pilton Place which had also been built by Hartnoll.

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