The Woodpecker Estate (also known as the Milton Court Estate and Ghetto Estate) is a large postwar housing estate on the border of the New Cross and Deptford areas of Lewisham, London. The site was previously terraced housing that was completely cleared during the 1960s. Pockets of housing was constructed during the 1960s such as around Knoyle Street, Vansittart Street, Granville Court in the west, and the construction of Milton Court in the south east of the estate. Some of this housing was demolished as part of the reconfiguration of the road layout of the area for the estate.
When completed, the estate consisted of 8 tower blocks of varying heights, numerous 3 storey blocks of flats and blocks of maisonettes. In the centre of the estate was the main local shopping centre, named the Woodpecker Centre, plus two churches, a library and a pub named The Spanish Steps. Around the north and eastern edge of the estate were three multi-storey car parks. The maisonette blocks were grouped in clusters and each block within a cluster would be connected by footbridge to another so that residents need not go down to road level to visit another block.
The estate became synonymous with gang culture in Lewisham, as the Ghetto Boys street gang emerged from the estate in the late 1970s and later came to dominate much of Lewisham. Throughout the 1990s and up until 2006 Andrew Wanogho, also known as Sparks, was seen to be in charge of the Ghetto Boys and his murder in 2006 led to a high profile trial as of 2017 they are now known as 814 hence the postcodes of SE81 and Se4 . The gang is interlinked with B Side/785 (Bellingham SE6), 26 (Sydenham SE26), Block 6 (Catford SE6), 28s (brixton/Croydon) 150 (Angell Town, Brixton SW9) and 410 (Myatts Field Estate, Brixton SW9)
In 1992, an Estate Action Plan was drawn up for the regeneration of the estate. The plan lasted 10 years with limited funds and resulted in all but one of its tower blocks being demolished and replaced with three storey blocks of flats. Maisonette blocks were also demolished or refurbished.
The three 23 storey tower blocks originally constructed were:
The five 14 storey tower blocks constructed were:
* - tower block not demolished.
Other blocks on the estate which did not form part of the original project:
- Milton Court - a pair of 9 storey tower blocks
- Granville Court - a five storey b