Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Problems, but also a strong sense of community – White City Estate divides opinions

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Service

The first thing that strikes you about west London’s White City Estate is its size. The place is huge. The Shepherd’s Bush complex, which began in the late 1930s to accommodate the growing local population, today houses 4,201 people spread across 2,062 homes.

It was the former London County Council’s largest such project in the period before the Second World War, and continues to stand as a mammoth example of mid-20th century estate building.

Named after the grand White City Exhibition, thrown in 1908 to celebrate the 1904 signing of the Entente Cordiale with France, the complex is today bordered by some of the UK’s most well-known institutions. ITV and the BBC both occupy bases to its east, as well as the Royal College of Art and Imperial College.

Championship football team Queens Park Rangers’ home ground, Loftus Road, meanwhile, is situated to its south, and the Westfield shopping centre is a mere 14 minutes’ walk away. The area continues to be a hive of activity, with developments such as the White City Central and EdCity schemes delivering new homes, a school, a youth centre and more.

Over the years, the estate has, however, perhaps become most commonly known for its battles with crime and poverty.

According to the blog Municipal Dreams, in 2009, White City was among ‘the most deprived areas in the country in terms of household income.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) meanwhile details how, according to Census 2021 data, 36.6 per cent of households in White City are deprived in one dimension, the highest for any area in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Dejour Morrell Mason, 28, has lived on the estate for most of his life. Asked what the area was like as a child, he said: “It was really bad. This is much better. This is much safer for kids. It’s a community, this is not like any other place. You’ve got Irish, you’ve got Somalian. Everyone is all together, Muslims and everyone.

“This is one of the rarest places. Everywhere else has segregation. This is one of the places where you can say there is a big community.”

By way of example, Mr Mason said that following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which was not far from the estate, residents clubbed together to place clothes outside Loftus Road in support of those impacted.

Ibtisam Hassan, 18, similarly spoke highly of the tight-knit nature of the estate. Like Mr Mason, her family has lived in White City for decades, in their case 25 years.

However, when asked about the wider White City area, she said: “I feel like it has been a bit gentrified. There’s a lot of people that come to Westfield, not touristy people, but not a lot of people that live in the area.”

Ibtisam Hassan (right) and Raweyda Mahamud said crime has reduced on the estate over the years (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga

Ms Hassan also touched on the historic issues with the estate, namely violence. However, she said that “as time went on, they grew older, the people that were doing it. They started a different page in their life.”

Another long-time resident, Mohammed Ejaz, 54, said that while the estate used to be rough, things had improved. “There was a little bit, rough kids around, but now it’s okay,” he said. Asked if there is anything else he would like to see change around the place, he added: “I think there’s nothing. Everything is okay.”

The general optimism aired by residents such as Mr Mason is not echoed by everyone. Lee, 44, who did not want to give his surname, said he had spent his whole life living on the estate. Rather than improve, he said the area had fallen by the wayside over the years, with various facilities, such as a swimming pool and play centre, removed.

Aavan Hama, 44, an artist who lives with her two daughters, meanwhile, said she had experienced issues with some of the local personnel. “Sometimes the neighbours have loud music and your kids can’t sleep,” she said, with people also seen doing laughing gas near her home.

Ms Hama, who rents privately, added she has had problems with damp and mould. Despite the issues, she said she remains content however, with clear benefits to living on the estate.

“I’m still happy, because it’s not far from me to go to work, and it’s good for my kids. My little one goes to the primary school.”

A spokesman for Hammersmith and Fulham council said it is making a number of improvements to the estate, including new LED lighting and upgrades to the door entrances to buildings.

They added the council’s Law Enforcement Team (LET) also regularly patrol, and worked with Community Safety colleagues to introduce a Public Space Protection Order in 2022 which helped clamp down on noise nuisance from amplified music.

The problem of damp and mould has also been raised by other residents. Tania Jahan, 34, who lives with her husband Fardus Miah, 39, and three children, said her youngest was born with a cold in December 2022, due to the condition of the flat.

A health visitor had written to Westminster City council, under whose care the family fall despite the property being in Hammersmith and Fulham, in which they described the flat as ‘inadequate’ and a threat to the family’s health.

Mr Miah said: “The kids are cramped in a mouldy place, we can’t go out anywhere, and it’s a health and safety issue for the baby.”

A spokesman for Westminster City council previously said the local authority was working with the family and Notting Hill Genesis, the provider, to arrange ‘much-needed repairs’ as soon as possible.

Mr Mason, while complimentary of the ways in which the estate has improved, was not without concerns. In particular, he said there remain elderly people living towards the top of blocks lacking lifts, which he said poses a clear health risk.

Gesticulating towards the developments to the east, he added there is also a sense the estate is being intentionally hidden from those approaching from the station.

What stood out most though was the ‘togetherness’, as Ms Mason put it, with residents feeling a ‘massive attachment’ to the White City Estate. “It’s a nice community,” he said. “It’s much, much better.”

Pictured top: Mohammed Ejaz, who spoke positively of the White City Estate (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.