The History of London’s Housing Stock

Discover how London’s housing has evolved throughout the decades with our interactive tool

London has grown exponentially as it’s evolved into the megacity we know today. The 32 boroughs that make up this thriving metropolis are unique in their own right and from a historical perspective, each one has a notable and unique story. From the luxurious pre-1900 houses and garden squares in Knightsbridge, to the housing expansion and regeneration around Canary Wharf in recent years, London’s homes are as diverse as its inhabitants.

With this in mind, Knight Frank is pleased to launch a new, interactive report aimed at sharing unique insight into the Capital’s housing history for both residents and visitors alike. Our interactive tool uses housing data from the past 120 years, to visualise 14 unique stories connected to some of the Capital’s most notable areas. These boroughs showcase the dramatic changes in that area, while also highlighting their significance to the overall landscape of London’s housing.

To begin, click on an area or select a borough from the drop-down list.

Understand and compare complex data with our helpful infographics and read the full narrative to learn all about each London borough.

westminster area

Barking & Dagenham Brent Islington Camden Tower Hamlets Harrow City of London Westminster Southwark Lambeth Wandsworth Kensington Richmond Upon Thames Hammersmith & Fulham

Housing Stock in Westminster

Westminster was once a far cry from the exclusive and desirable locale it is today!

westminster area

Age of Housing Stock in

Pre 1900

westminster area
    Pre 1900

"As one of London’s oldest areas, almost half of its housing stock dates back to before the 1900s."

The City of Westminster features many of prime central London’s trophy areas, including Mayfair, Marylebone, Pimlico, Belgravia, Victoria, St John’s Wood and the West End.

The borough stretches across an area no more than one mile from Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster. As one of London’s oldest areas, almost half of its housing stock dates back to before the 1900s.

Westminster was once a far cry from the exclusive and desirable locale it is today, with Charles Dickens’ novels purportedly inspired by the overcrowded area immediately surrounding Westminster Abbey.

westminster abbey 1885

The borough began its transformation into the area we know today in 1850, when London’s modern infrastructure began taking shape and office blocks, shops and high-end apartment buildings were erected.

Many of Westminster’s pre-1900 social tenement style housing estates have survived into the 21st century and are considered architectural celebrations which add to the area’s unique character.

edwardian townhouses in westminster

1980s and beyond

Modern Westminster is architecturally diverse, with impressive Victorian and Edwardian mansion blocks sitting beside listed buildings and social housing, while luxury new home developments overlook some of the capital’s most iconic buildings.

21st century property development

New homes and the £2bn redevelopment of Victoria have put Westminster firmly back on the prime central London grid.

modern westminster

Mayfair in particular has seen a major transformation of commercial to residential property over the past few years, with a strong new-build pipeline continuing to place the area in the international spotlight. This trend is also evident in Marylebone, where large houses previously broken up into offices are being converted back into houses.

One example of a new development in the borough is the collection of 116 apartments at Riverwalk. Located on the north bank of the Thames, the apartments offer direct river views and outside space in the heart of Westminster.

In addition, the planned ten-storey residential scheme Lincoln Square will replace a vacant 1960s concrete office building on an island site in the Strand Conservation Area. Important institutional buildings, including the Royal Courts of Justice, will surround it.

Did you know? Westminster’s Eyre Estate in St John's Wood was reportedly the first part of London, and indeed of any other town, to abandon the terrace house in favour of the semi-detached villa.

Discover other beautiful properties on our property listings page for Westminster.

Click on the links below to explore other boroughs in London

London’s historical housing stock data comes from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and was analysed by Knight Frank