Brockley Cross, 1970s

Marty I had a horrible nightmare. I dreamed that I went... back in time. It was terrible.
Lorraine Well... You're safe and sound now, back in good old 1955.

- Back to the Future

There are two types of architectural mistake: The first type are those that with hindsight were clearly flawed, but looking at historical photos, you can understand how planners at the time were seduced by their ambition or beauty - things that worked before people moved in and ruined them by using them in ways they weren't supposed to. The Bullring and Rotunda in Birmingham or the elevated walkways of the City seemed to herald a bold, modernist future.

The second type are those projects that were always hideous, and no amount of historical empathy can help you understand what people saw in them, like Robin Hood Gardens.

BrocSoc's Rob has sent us this photo from the early 1970s that proves that Brockley Cross belongs firmly in the second category. It has always been horrible. The idea that 40 years on, with the Council's attention finally focused on improving the site, they would opt to keep the same basic layout, is perplexing.

The pavement was in a better state back then, though.

Note: Rob wasn't sure of the provenance of this photo, which he acquired off Ebay, so apologies if we are violating anyone's copyright, please let us know.