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Cleeve House
New
Calvert Avenue, London E2£590,000 Leasehold

Cleeve House

Six-over-six sash windows in the living room look over leafy church gardens and the historic estate

This two-bedroom apartment occupies a commanding corner position on the third floor of Cleeve House, a Grade II-listed building within the Boundary Estate. Dating to c.1895, the apartment basks in the light that filters through expansive sash windows to fall on original oak floorboards, terracotta tiles and polished concrete. Cleeve House is within the South Shoreditch Conservation Area and is in easy walking distance of Underground and Overground transport links, wonderful green spaces and many of east London’s best restaurants, cafés and shops. 

Setting the Scene

The Boundary Estate stands as a remarkable testament to a pioneering era of social housing. It was designed by architect Owen Fleming and his talented team for the London County Council and took around a decade to complete. The estate is comprised of 23 five-storey tenement blocks adorned with an array of Victorian detailing. While each apartment has a unique layout, all have large sash windows, impressive ceiling heights and generous proportions. 

Cleeve House was completed at the end of the 19th century to the designs of its lead architect Reginald Minton Taylor. Its façade is elegantly dressed with pilaster strips, banded brickwork and stuccoed tympanums. This block, set on Calvert Avenue, encompasses three storeys of apartments above a ground floor of shops. Its street-facing frontage of glazed brick has segmental-headed plate glass windows in timber frames with decorative lights above. For more information, please see the History section. 

The Grand Tour

The communal front door is set into Cleve House’s glazed brick façade, beneath a triangular pediment. It opens to a communal hallway and stairwell with walls of red-painted brickwork and pale yellow tiles. A staircase rises to the third floor, where the apartment’s private entrance sits.

The rooms are arranged around a central hallway. Light bounces off an original concrete floor underfoot which has been polished to reveal the subtle earthen tone of its aggregate, a gentle palette that continues throughout the apartment. At the end of the hall is a double-aspect reception room with large six-over-six sash windows framing leafy views of the 18th-century St Leonard’s Church and its gardens on one side, and the Boundary Estate to Arnold Circus on the other. Original oak floorboards run underfoot and an art deco fireplace on one wall offers a wonderful focal point. Built-in shelving in the fireplace’s alcoves is perfect for displaying a personal library. On quieter evenings, tier-over-tier shutters on the large windows can be pulled shut for a cosier atmosphere.

The bright kitchen is on the other side of the hallway, with neat terracotta tiles and white-painted timber shelves and cabinetry. A deep ceramic sink sits under a paned casement window with a matching terracotta sill, a lovely spot for displaying fresh stems from nearby Columbia Road Flower Market. There is also an original Victorian cupboard here for storing dried ingredients and spices.

The apartment has two bedrooms, with the primary room, currently arranged as a study, on the right of the plan. Light floods into the space through two tall sash windows. The second bedroom looks over Calvert Avenue and houses a set of built-in shelves. The bathroom is finished with fixtures that chime with the Victorian origins of the building. 

The Great Outdoors

At the centre of the estate is Arnold Circus, an ornamental garden planted with mature London plane trees and a Grade II-listed octagonal bandstand. Spanning two terraces, these beautifully landscaped spaces were created using the earth excavated during the estate’s construction, initially a cost-saving measure. However, this ingenious decision has resulted in a raised vantage point for Arnold Circus, which has long-reaching vistas along the radial tree-lined avenues, making an excellent spot to relax with a morning coffee in hand.

Out and About 

Within Hackney’s South Shoreditch Conservation Area, Cleeve House and the surrounding buildings are of particularly special architectural and historical interest. There are seven avenues radiating from central Boundary Gardens, each lined with mansion blocks that emanate a late Victorian elegance. 

A short walk away from Columbia Road, Hoxton Square, and the City, the Boundary Estate is within walking distance of Lyle’sSager & WildeCave Cuvee, and Equal Parts. Just across the gardens is Leila’s Shop, rustic greengrocers and café offering fresh produce all year round. The much-loved Rochelle Canteen is just around the corner for seasonal fare, set within what once was a primary school for the estate. Jolene on Redchurch Street is an ideal spot for a morning pastry and only a couple of minutes’ walk away. For coffee, Origin Coffee on Charlotte Road and Ozone on both Leonard Street and Emma Street are all a short stroll from Cleeve House.

The ever-popular Columbia Road Flower Market is a go-to on a Sunday morning for flowers and houseplants. From here, the green open spaces of Weavers Fields are easily reached. Spitalfields and Shoreditch offer further dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities, with restaurants including OttolenghiCrispin, and St. John Bread & Wine.

Transport links are excellent; Shoreditch High Street station is less than a 10-minute walk away for Overground services. Old Street Station (Northern Line), Liverpool Street Station (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines) and Bethnal Green Station (Central Line) are also nearby. 

Tenure: Leasehold
Lease Length: Approx. 180 years remaining
Service Charge: Approx. £1900 per annum
Ground Rent: £10
Council Tax Band: B

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. Inigo has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.

History

The late 19th century saw Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Whitechapel become a hub for London’s manufacturing trade as the east London docks facilitated an influx of sawmills and workshops around Commercial Street, Hoxton and Shoreditch High Street. Furniture making, textile production and upholstery formed the basis for this industrial boom and workers flocked to the area. Such rapid growth soon caused overcrowding and poor living conditions, and the maze of streets and alleyways around Boundary Street, known as the ‘Old Nichol’, was recognised as one of the poorest slums in London. 

In 1890, Parliament passed the Housing of the Working Class Act, which gave the newly formed London County Council the power to manage and implement new social housing estates across the city. The Old Nichol Rookery was selected as the site for their flagship scheme, the Boundary Estate. 

The project was headed by architect Owen Fleming, and construction began on the estate in 1893. Fleming set out a plan that retained Boundary Street to the west and implemented seven new tree-lined avenues radiating from the central Boundary Gardens. Consisting of 23 handsome Victorian mansion blocks, the estate integrated shops, launderettes, workshops and schools. This revolutionary exercise in urban planning is today understood as the first example of social housing in the country. 

Cleeve House — Calvert Avenue, London E2
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