Peabody Square, Blackfriars Road, Bankside, c.1872

Peabody Square, Blackfriars Road, Bankside, Southwark, c.1872

Strict tenancy terms and relatively high rents show that the landlords were not providing for the poorer section of the market and were careful to ensure a required return on their investment.

By 1870 Blackfriars Road and the surrounding area had been overwhelmingly urban for more than 50 years. The population was at its peak and the population density was increasing as housing gave way to new railways from London Bridge to Charing Cross and Canon Street, and to expanding industrial concerns.

The quality of housing fell dramatically and the area had one of the worst records for unsanitary conditions and mortality rates.

Peabody Square was not the first example of purpose-built model dwellings built on a (part) philanthropic basis, but it was certainly the largest.