New photography book celebrates architectural beauty of council estates

New book The Council House by Jack Young showcases the beauty of council estates in London
(Image credit: Jack Young / Hoxton Mini Press)

A new photography book has been curated with a focus on the architectural beauty of the often overlooked London council estates. The Council House is a curation of over 68 vibrant innovative council buildings and homes in London.

The photographs and words by Jack Young seeks to remind us that initial thought, pride and innovation went into the development of these buildings, and council housing is as much a part of the UK capital as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. 

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Council houses over the years have often received a pretty bad rep, generally provided (but not always) to the working class and those most in need, while funded directly by local councils and government incentive. Despite the derogatory attitudes many have towards council housing, these buildings are socially vital with some complexes and estates housing amenities such as schools and local corner shops. 

This new book, The Council House, is a celebration above all else of London's most iconic council estates, a photographic journey that spans the city accompanied by historic biographies and personal quotes from residents past and present. 

(Image credit: Jack Young / Hoxton Mini Press)

Jack Young’s photographs capture perfectly the variety, ambition and excitement of places and communities too often dismissed, undermined and underfunded."

John Grindrod

Jack Young is a digital product designer by day, but spends his weekends photographing London's intriguingly beautiful council estates which he began sharing on Instagram in 2019, before having his images compiled into a book by East London-based publishers Hoxton Mini Press.

Construction on these buildings first took place as early as 1919 following the Housing Act and continued up until 1980, with production slowing in recent years and properties handed over to non-profit housing associations. Designs of housing estates varies from tower blocks to smaller residential estates that were initially designed 'Radburn Style' and only accessible by footpaths. In 2010 there was a revival in council housebuilding with a focus on energy efficiency.

(Image credit: Jack Young / Hoxton Mini Press)

(Image credit: Jack Young / Hoxton Mini Press)

Jack shared via his Instagram platform (@thecouncilhouse) when announcing the book's release: "A huge thank you to all of the residents that invited me into their homes and spoke openly about their experiences of living on the estates". 

The documentary-style approach to the curation of this book, featuring personal experiences from residents living in council estates as well as photographing their exterior, is sure to inspire urban landscape photographers across the globe and provide intriguing insight into estates that have often been frowned upon or overlooked. 

The 208 page hardback copy of The Council House by Jack Young can be pre-ordered now from the Hoxton Mini Press website at a price of £18.95. 

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.