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Ian Nairn

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Ian Nairn

The maverick architectural critic tours two pioneering post-war housing estates in Pimlico, London.

Cinemagazine 1970 14 mins


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Join ace architecture critic Ian Nairn for a tour of two pioneering post-war housing estates in Pimlico, central London. Completed in 1962, Churchill Gardens replaced bomb-damaged Victorian terraces and slums, while the newer Lillington Street development further enhanced the area's "mixture of people and uses and attitudes and temperaments". Pimlico has retained much of its "village within a city" charm, though social housing is under threat in SW1 - among Britain's most expensive postcodes.

Ian Nairn (1930-1983) was a maverick in the world of architectural journalism whose work influenced many critics and writers, including those working in the field of "psychogeography" such as Iain Sinclair. In the late 60s and early 70s he became an unlikely TV personality, presenting evocative BBC series including Nairn Across Britain, which blended his unique style of architectural criticism with gently melancholic commentary on Britain's neglected byways. His local pub, seen here, was his preferred "office desk"; one factor in his untimely death. This film was made for the government-sponsored series No Two the Same, intended to promote British culture to an international audience.