SPAN architect, Eric Lyons acted upon the post-war housing shortage by introducing his modernist homes, that sought to offer privacy in the home, bright and spacious rooms and communal green spaces. SPAN homes proved to be a great success and continued to be designed and built until 1983. Lyons’ ethos is a continuing influence on architects and is more important than ever in twenty-first century Britain.

Lou and Richard

Cator Estate

Lou and Richard have lived in several different SPAN properties and are very interested in mid-century design. Design is generally very important to their lives and they took the steps to bring it into their home, which they share with their dog Bluebell.


Mallard Place

Linda is a former architect and was attracted to her home because of the amount of bright light that comes in. She lives on her own and has fond memories of residents’ parties and of boats on the river during the jubilee. She does however feel that the lack of rent control has meant that lots of the homes are now rented at high prices and this lessens the sense of community.


Cator Estate

Neil is the Curator of Contemporary Architectural Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Neil has curated an exhibition about SPAN homes previously, in 2006, and he is the biographer of architect Eric Lyons. For Neil, his home is the background to who he is.



Sue, an architectural photographer, lives with her son in a tree-surrounded flat at Parkleys. Having grown up in dark Victorian era homes a great appreciation for the bright openness of her Span flat was instilled, furthered by the sense of community. Sue credits the design of the flats for this atmosphere, allowing for a community spirit that involves the youngest to the eldest of residents.



Mary is the last person living at Parkleys who moved in when the estate was first built. She lived there with her husband John until he died.  They spent their lives travelling the world and she has collected many souvenirs. Mary enjoyed the social life on the Span estate, however since John’s death, she sees fewer residents as she finds mobility difficult.