Toynbee Street Consultation

The information below is taken directly from the display boards presented at the community events for held during the consultation process for the development of 11-31 Toynbee Street. For more information contact Freddie Murray on 020 7364 1375.

All content is copyright © 2011 MatthewLloydArchitectsLLP



Info Board 1

The proposals involve replacing the existing run down buildings on the site with 21 new flats and 6 new shop units.

The site straddles two streets: Toynbee Street and Commercial Street (shown above). The Council is looking to gain Planning Permission for the redevelopment of the site in order to achieve the following:

  • Delivery of good quality new homes and employment space within the Borough
  • Reinvigoration of Toynbee Street
  • Repair of the gap in the Commercial Street terrace

Existing site: history

Toynbee Street Board Info 2

Toynbee Street (originally Sheperd Street) was laid out in the 1820s on land previously used for the drying and stretching of cloth, the production of which was one of the major industries in the area. In 1843, 5 Commercial Street was cut through the tangle of streets and alleys to connect Whitechapel and Spitalfields. It was lined with shops, offices and warehouses on a larger scale than the surrounding, predominantly 2-3 storey terraced houses.

In the 1920s, the area on and to the west of Toynbee Street was redeveloped by the LCC as the Holland Estate, with 5 storey Neo-Georgian blocks, with shops on the ground floor and residential above.

Sheperd Street was renamed Toynbee Street in 1939.

11-13 Toynbee Street/67-69 Commercial Street was built in the mid-late 19th century as a 6 storey block of model dwellings. Its top 5 floors were demolished in 1963, leaving the single storey stump visible today.

15-31 Toynbee Street was built in 1929 as part of the Holland Estate redevelopment. Their low height, which is out of place within the local area, appears not to have made the most out of their site, which provided shop units at ground floor, with a first floor storeroom partly within the roof.

Existing site: today

Toynbee Street Board Info 3

Virtually all the units in 11-31 Toynbee Street are now derelict and the buildings are in poor condition, detracting from the character and appearance of the Wentworth Street Conservation area.

The redevelopment of the site will deliver new homes, including those for affordable purchase, and modern, flexible commercial units, which will be more attractive to tenants than the current cramped units of 15-31. This offers great opportunities to revitalise Toynbee Street.

The light, views, privacy and amenity of the neighbouring properties have all been taken into account in determining the scale and arrangement of the new development.

Proposals: layout

Toynbee Street Board info 5

The proposed building rises from 3-5 storeys, in keeping with the scale of the local area.

From Toynbee Street, it appears as a predominantly 3 storey building, with setback 4th and 5th storeys. The Commercial Street elevation presents a 4 storey block with a setback 5th storey. The positioning of rooftop accommodation (4th & 5th storeys) has been to maximise the light available to the existing neighbouring windows on the site.


  • 21 flats are proposed on the site, alongside approximately 510m2 (6 units) of commercial space.
  • 36% of the flats will be affordable accommodation, with the remaining to be for private sale (5 flats).
  • 73% of the affordable flats will be family accommodation (3 flats).
  • 10% of the whole scheme will meet Wheelchair Housing standards (2 flats).
  • 100% of the flats will have access to communal rooftop gardens.
  • 5 flats have private terraces.

All the flats will be designed to exceed the Council’s housing space standards and meet the following:

  • Mayor of London Housing Design Guide
  • Lifetime Homes
  • Code for Sustainable Homes level 4
  • Secured by Design

The commercial units will be designed to meet Breeam Excellent sustainability rating.


Toynbee Street Board Info 5

Proposals: design

Toynbee Street Board info 6


The traditional material of the area is brick and many of the local brickwork buildings are detailed and ornate. The proposal’s design draws upon these traditions of patterning, especially from the local Boundary Estate, weaving glazed bricks with non-glazed bricks, to create a richness of tone.

The Spitalfields and Commercial Street area has long been associated with the clothing industry, and Toynbee Street was laid out on land once used for the drying and stretching of cloth. The brickwork patterning proposed for the principle elevations alludes to the silk-weaving traditions, particularly damask designs, which sometimes use single colours, whilst varying the sheen in order to create the pattern.

In a similar way, the proposed mixture of glazed and non-glazed bricks will cause highlights on the facade, reflecting light differently according to the position of the sun and also the observer. This will allow the pattern to appear and disappear.

The lighter top floors of the scheme will be clad in timber, in reference to the traditional weavers’ attics in the local area.


Toynbee Street Board Info 7

Toynbee Street Info 8

Relationship with the rear of Commercial Street

At the northern end of the site, where the proposal is closest to the rear of the Commercial Street terrace, the flats will only have windows onto Toynbee Street and will not look at the existing neighbours. An access deck will run along the rear of the new building to serve these flats, which will be enclosed with timber slatted screens. This will provide privacy to the new and existing residents, whilst allowing natural light to pass through it. The screens wrap around the existing Commercial Street rear terraces, enhancing their outlook through its soft, garden-like, timber finish.

Toynbee Street board 9

The architects

Toynbee Street Board Info

Matthew Lloyd Architects LLP is a progressive, award-winning, design-led practice established in 1991. We occupy recently expanded premises in Shoreditch, East London with a team of experienced, dedicated staff. We have a deep commitment to East London, where most of our work is located.

We operate across a range of sectors for a diverse variety of clients. Our work frequently involves securing difficult planning consents for challenging sites, often involving historic buildings and contexts. Partners of the practice are consistently involved with projects from inception through to completion.

Consultation and stakeholder participation are at the heart of our design philosophy, and our work is typified by a commitment to design quality and project delivery.

Over the past few years we have worked closely with London Borough of Tower Hamlets planning and conservation officers to achieve beautiful, contextual architecture contributing to the regeneration of this vibrant, historic part of London.

Significant projects in Tower Hamlets include:

Twenty Bishops Square/St Botolph’s Hall

A £5.3m mixed-use scheme in Spitalfields for Hammerson UK and Native Land, which comprises the renovation of the listed St Botolph’s Hall and a new apartment building with 14 flats above a ground floor restaurant. The new building and the historic hall are connected by a glazed link. This scheme won an RIBA Award in 2010 and a Grand Designs Award in 2009.

Mildmay Village

Matthew Lloyd Architects is working within a consortium comprising Mildmay Mission Hospital, Genesis Housing Group, Shoreditch Tabernacle Baptist Church, and FCB Studios on a major development in Shoreditch, creating a range of residential, social, and community facilities. One of our components is a new church with blocks of flats adjacent and above, connected to our completed renovation of the TAB Centre (RICS Community Benefit Award 2006). Tall narrow plots of the ‘terraced housing’ elements emulate the local building types while the vertical emphasis reflects the uplifting nature of the modern worship space within. The mix of residential and non-residential uses creates an active, safer neighbourhood. Completion is due in 2013.