20th Century Architecture: Scunthorpe Tower Blocks

Humber Museums Partnership - 20th Century Architecture: Scunthorpe Tower Blocks

About the project

I have been researching the 20th Century architecture of North Lincolnshire. I have been using the museum’s resources to research this topic, in particular the North Lincolnshire Museum Service Image Archive.

Tower blocks were designed to tackle the post-war housing shortage by accommodating more people in a smaller area. The vertical development of tower blocks created more dwellings in a limited space in comparison with traditional housing schemes. They also utilised new building materials and techniques including concrete which made them a cost-effective option. In addition, this new way of building and living was embraced by a society eager to modernise and look to the future.

Tower blocks were built up and down the country, including in Scunthorpe:

Langland House/Trent View House

Langland House was built as part of the Westcliff estate in Scunthorpe in 1963. The 14-storey tower block was said to be designed in balance with the chimneys of the Normanby Park steelworks on the opposite side of the town. Integrated landscaping was a key feature in post-war housing schemes. Langland House was set in a green space which led it to be described as a country house of the 20th century; looking over the Lincolnshire countryside as a traditional country house would look over its estate.  The flats were refurbished in 1983 and the building renamed Trent View House.

Langland House, now Trent View House taken in 1963.

Looking east up Bridges Road towards Langland House.

Crosby Flats

Three tower blocks were built as part the 7-acre Crosby Road housing scheme in 1966. The new estate comprised of the three 20-storey blocks surrounded by maisonettes, family housing and accommodation for the elderly. This scheme marked a move away from building projects in the south and west of the town to the redevelopment of the town centre area which included a new pedestrianised shopping precinct. The towers were named Sutton House, Princess House and Crosby House and were opened by the then Minister for Housing and Local Government Richard Crossman MP in March 1966.

Councillor Lawman Welch, Mayor of Scunthorpe, at the unveiling of the foundation stone of the Crosby Flats development in 1964.

Aerial view taken during the Crosby flats development in 1965.

The three Crosby Flats tower blocks behind Scunthorpe Market taken in the 1970s.

Nationally, high rise building activity peaked in around 1967 and many of the tower blocks built up and down the UK in the 1960s still stand today. The tower blocks in Scunthorpe are still a prominent feature of the town’s skyline and continue to provide homes for hundreds of people.