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Kensal House

Welcome to a visionary 1930s community, powered by the miracle of gas.

Documentary 1937 11 mins Silent


Welcome to Kensal House, a visionary gas-powered community in north-west London. Financiers the Gas, Light and Coke Company had decided to give over some of their land to the building of "working-class flats" for those living in inadequate private housing. This promotional film shows new residents extolling the virtues of the flats' ingenious design, communal amenities and vivid community life.

Situated just off Ladbroke Grove, Kensal House was designed in the mid-30s by the architects Maxwell Fry and Elizabeth Denby. Taking their lead from eastern European architects, who believed that the private home space should be broken down and most activities made communal, Fry and Denby provided an all-day, on-site nursery, communal utility rooms and social clubs for both wives and husbands.