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What is a Mansion Flat

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    Mansion Flats are easy to recognise but harder to define.

    Mansion Flat blocks vary in appearance, but are typically well decorated with have a fortress like appearance. Typically, they are between 4 to 8 stories high and achieve around 200 homes per hectare, which qualifies as super density.

    There is no agreed technical definition of mansion block or flat. Wikipedia advises that a Mansion Block refers to a block of flats designed for ….the appearance of grandeur.

LMF’s definition is designed to distance Mansion Flats from other common flat types, as follows…

Centrally located late Victorian/Edwardian styled blocks of flats built after the development of lift access, distinctive external embellishments, typically 4 to 8 stories high, with variety of flat layouts arranged around light wells and courtyards, and aligned to create striking street frontages, internally having spacious layouts and grand entrances.

History & Architectural Styles of Mansion Flats.

They were called Mansion Flats by their selling agents to increase their appeal and to entice them towards purchasers who would otherwise be attracted towards houses.

London does not have a long history of flat development compared to, say, Paris as the two cities grew differently without similar constraints. Paris was constrained by its city walls – as was Edinburgh – which forced vertical living. London by contrast outgrew its Roman walls in medieval times and sprawled gently outwards until about the 19th century when here too there was a demand for vertical living, which produced London’s first purpose-built model tenements, pioneered by housing reform societies such as the Peabody Trust.

The tenement flats provided homes for artisans and the lower classes but were not the answer for the middle class or urban professional. The latter were more at home in suburban houses than high-rise flats as they were looking for more status and luxury that Mansion Flats would aim at providing.

Between the 1880s and the 1910s a mansion flat frenzy swept into the capital. Demand only subsided only with the outbreak of World War I and was never to pick up in quite the same way again.

Mansion flats were advertised as offering:  Expansive views from wide bays; decorative corner turrets; eye-catching buff bands highlight scale and height; classical porticoes and brick piers; imposing elevations ;spacious interiors; sweeping stone steps and open scroll decoration; easy clean terrazzo floors; colourful and lustrous dado tiles; jewel like glass; high ceilings; fireplaces in all rooms; ornate window frames; airy stairwells with wide halls; generous bathrooms; refuse facilities; larders for ever daily perishable; Coal hole school weekly drops; electric lights and efficient plumbing and drainage.

They combined the advantages of a private house, the freedom of a hotel and the luxury of a club.