Originally constructed to provide working class flats for 4,430 people, Millbank was a flagship project in many ways. Unlike earlier large housing projects, it had no shared lavatories or sculleries, and more spacious courtyards than were to be found in the more affluent mansion blocks in Victoria. Owing to the importance and quality of its architecture, the Estate has been designated Grade II listed. Named after eminent artists from the last three hundred years, including Ruskin, Wilkie and Hogarth, the blocks themselves bear testament to the area’s rich cultural heritage and the Estate’s proximity to the Tate Britain Art Gallery and the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Millbank is an area of central London in the City of Westminster, located by the River Thames, east of Pimlico and south of Westminster. The area derives its name from a mill house belonging to nearby Westminster Abbey.
Millbank’s general appearance dates from the 1930s, when the area was extensively rebuilt to repair damage caused by the 1928 Thames flood disaster, following the collapse of a 25m section of the Thames Embankment.
Millbank shares the name of the main road (A3212) along the north bank of the River Thames, extending northwards from Vauxhall Bridge to Abingdon Street, just south from Parliament Square. There are parliamentary offices situated across this road, notably No.7, built as the headquarters of British American Tobacco. The road was created as part of the Thames Embankment in the mid 19th century and lies above a large interceptor sewer.
The former Royal Army Medical College, situated at Millbank, is the site where the vaccine for typhoid was first developed, and in the late 19th century, was where the world’s first modern prison was established. The listed site has since been renovated as a purpose built arts college for the Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2005. The Tate Britain art gallery is situated directly opposite near the end of Vauxhall Bridge, providing a distinct arts presence in the area.
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