Tuesday 27 May 2003 9.17am
Not sure whether you are planning a visit or doing some family history research. I think that Peabody Square was built in 1871 on the site of the former Magdalen Hospital. It originally consisted of sixteen blocks of "artisan dwellings" around two linked squares.
Some information follows from the archived former website of English Heritage. http://www.eng-h.gov.uk/ArchRev/rev97_8/case.htm
This link includes a picture of the Peabody estate at Islington which is built to an almost identical design of brick blocks 4-6 storeys in height.
"The Peabody Trust was founded in London in 1862 by George Peabody, the wealthy American banker and philanthropist. It is the largest charity and housing association dedicated to housing the poor in London and has a stock of over 17,000 homes, mostly consisting of densely-built sites in inner London - the famous Peabody Estates with some cottage estates in the suburbs. The earliest surviving Peabody buildings in London are on the Islington Estate (1864) with others at Shadwell, Chelsea, and Blackfriars dating from soon afterwards. These early estates are historically of seminal importance as being among the first to address the problems of housing the poor in a consistent way, with an identifiable architectural form. The brick-built Italianate blocks grouped in a square forming a courtyard and thus protected' from the outside world, are the hall-mark of the early estates. The famous 'Peabody Square', familiar to many Londoners and visitors to London, was conceived by Henry Darbishire (1825-99), architect to the Peabody Trust from 1864 until 1885."
There is a contemporary line engraved illustration of the Blackfriars Road
estate at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~city19c/viccity/architect.html
I used to work on Blackfriars Road
opposite Peabody Square in the late 1980s. Back then all the blocks were a depressing shade of grey-black from a century of London coal burning. The early 90s cleaning and refurbishment of the estate dramatically transformed the appearance of the estate.