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IT - Isokon Trust

Reference code
Level of description
Isokon Trust
Quantity & Format
20 files Mixed
Isokon Trust
Lawn Road Flats
Lawn Road Flats -- Restoration
Notting Hill Housing
Avanti Architects
Isokon Trust
Scope and content
Provenance: This collection was gifted to the UEA by Chris and Lone McCourt in July 2009. The papers arrived at UEA three years later in August 2012.

Chris McCourt was a Friend of the Isokon Trust. In February 2005, on the resignation of Chris Flannery, he was appointed Trustee and Chairman of the Trust. Chris McCourt was also Director of Isokon Plus, licensed to manufacture and develop the original Isokon Ltd furniture.

Organisational history: Isokon Trust was founded in 1999 to find an organisation interested in funding Lawn Road Flat’s (LRF) restoration and refurbishment and to educate and promote the history of the building. Marco Goldschmied was Patron of the Trust and Chris Flannery was Founder Trustee and Chairman. Other trustees were Mark Pimlott & Trevor Horne. In 2001 the Trust gained charitable status from the Charity Commission.

LRF was opened in 1934 and owned by Jack Pritchard. In 1969 the building was sold to The New Statesman and Nation, and in May 1972 it changed hands and became the property of The London Borough of Camden. After some years the building fell into disrepair.

Refurbishment work began in late 1995 under the direction of architects John McAslan & Partners. They were commissioned by English Heritage to draw up a 4 year, £1 million repair and refurbishment plan. The architects repaired the leaking roof and balconies, carried out minimum upgrades to five flats and restored one, number 22, to its full specification, at a cost of £20,000. The refurbishment programme was put on hold after this first phase.

In May 2001 Notting Hill Housing Group (NHHG) was chosen from a list of 11 bidders to purchase and restore the grade 1 listed building. The restoration project was awarded to Avanti Architects. It was estimated that £4 million would be needed to restore the flats back to their former 1934 glory.

A single flat, no. 15 (Walter Gropius’ flat) was renovated with original fittings to serve as an historical record.

In September 2001 an Open House weekend was held, the event attracted nearly 4,000 visitors to the building. An exhibition was held in the Walter Gropius flat with furniture supplied by Isokon Plus and some personal pieces belonging to Chris Flannery.

Renovations on the rest of the building continued from May 2003. Most of the flats were refurbished with like-for like materials.

Private sales of 10 apartments and one penthouse flat took place on 29/2/04. The one-bedroom penthouse, formerly the flat of Jack and Molly Pritchard, sold for £525,000. The remaining 25 flats were designated for shared ownership by key workers.

Under the guidelines of English Heritage, the 4-car garage on the ground floor was gifted by NHHG to IT for public exhibition space.

On 22/4/04 IT and Notting Hill Home Ownership (bid partners) submitted a bid to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the fitting out of the gallery and the purchase of flat no. 15. Two months later on 3/6/04 the bid was withdrawn. Problems relating to planning, and change of use from residential to commercial were cited.
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