The Bently House Estate - Hulme, Manchester, UK

The Bentley House Estate in Hulme comprises 6 blocks of red-brick, art deco, flats bounded by Hulme Street, Princess Road, Clarendon Street and Jackson Crescent.  You can see the parallel rows of low-rise flats in the top right-hand corner of the image below.  The image was taken prior to 1991 because you can also see the Hulme Crescents at the bottom of the image and they were demolished in 1991.

The image above is shown with the generous permission of BlomAerofilms

The estate is often referred to as "The Redbiricks".  The estate's web site describes the flats from the view of a resident, "Bentley House estate consists of three parallel streets three storey high walk-up flats. They were purpose built in the late 1940s in an art deco style, at a time when all flats still had open fires, shared communal laundrys in the basement (designed as bomb shelters we believe). Our bathrooms are tiny, designed at a time when even having an indoor bathroom was rare, and our kitchens were not designed to accommodate any mod cons, but we are very lucky in many other ways. All flats either have a decent sized balcony, or a garden, and we also have an awful lot of communal green space."

Rockdove Avenue, Hunmanby Avenue and Humberstone Avenue split the estate into 4 sections and, unusually for flats of that era, there are gardens behind and between the blocks.

Prior to the 1940s, Hulme like many of the suburbs that sat along the fringes of the inner city, was dominated by streets of Victorian terraced housing.  The redevelopment after WWII saw the terraces swept away and redbrick flats of various shapes and sized built to replace them.  Many of them went in the 1970s when the concrete era resulted in the cities in the sky approach to rehousing, a strategy that proved disasterous in many places.  Hulme had one of the largest deck-access developments in Europe in the shape of the Hulme Crescents.  These ill-fated disasters went up in 1971 and came down 20 years later.  However, the Bentley House Estate which pre-dated the Crescents by 30 years, is still going strong in 2011.

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