Walters Way and Segal Close, Lewisham

To build your own home from scratch — that was the unique offer advertised by Lewisham to those on the council house waiting list in the late 70s.

The architect Walter Segal devised a modular construction technique where blocks could be easily slotted together on a grid. It did away with plaster or cement and meant anyone — no matter their skills — could build their own home, while allowing for variation and adjustment.

The council were persuaded due to having over eagerly bought a few small sites of land too uneven for normal estates, but which were not a problem for Segal’s design. Even then it was passed by just one vote.

The lucky 27 cockneys were drawn at random, and duly built their own homes, in wood, amongst the trees and on the hill together.