The Roehampton Estate was developed in the early fifties as a response to the severe housing shortage in London after the Second World War. The two phases of development, now known as Alton East (formerly Portsmouth Road) and Alton West (formerly Roehampton Lane), were designed by different architectural teams and are of particular interest because while both can be described as 'modern', they are representative of the different influences and approaches that were current in British modern architecture at the time.
Alton West was developed and completed slightly later than Alton East and is totally different in character. While this is in part due to differences in landscape and scale, the main reasons for the differences are the influences and ideology of the team of generally younger architects. The influence of Le Corbusier is clear, particularly in the eleven-story slab blocks which were inspired by a visit to the recently completed Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles. Although brick is used in some places, the overall impression is of light coloured concrete, particularly on the point blocks.
The buildings consist of twelve-storey point blocks of flats, eleven-storey slab blocks of maisonettes, four-storey slab blocks of maisonettes and terraced housing which is mostly two-storey. There are also groups of single storey old people's dwellings. A row of shops and a library were later additions.