"Only Fools and Horses" term: Near Area Estate

Putting this in Café instead of GQ because this may be a term made up for the Brit-com “Only Fools and Horses”, since the few Google results seem mostly to point back to the show itself (but not all).
Anyway, been watching episodes in relative order (a few missing here and there), and now I’m up to the Series 6 Yuppie/Cassandra/Del-Boy as Gordon Gecko wannabe episodes. In these episodes they mention Near Area and Far Area Estates - were these actual UK government terms from the era (late 1980s)?
Also, it’s established the Trotter clan live in a council housing block called Nelson Mandela House - would such blocks have been named like that in the 1980s. How would they have been named when built? By in-show background, the tower block was in existence since at least 1962 - if it was real, would it have had a name (clearly not Nelson Mandela House) in the early 1960s?

I haven’t heard of near and far area estates before.

Many local councils in the 1980’s did get a reputation as becoming more Left Wing. They went from simply being economically left wing to being socially and culturally left too. For instance during the 1980’s Nuclear Free Zone signs began being put up by many councils. My own council put these up and did name our new-ish local library building after Nelson Mandela. Im not sure if such naming would have extended to Tower blocks, but such re-namings of local gov’t buildings were going on.

I believe towers were named when built. The most famous being Ronan Point named after a local councillor. Ronan Point partially collapsed in the late 1960’s(hence it’s fame) but obviously was named before then. I could be wrong but I don’t believe even local councillors of the 1960’s were unfeeling enough to call each tower by a simple letter or number; too Stalinist even for housing experts of the 1950’s and 60’s.

Tower blocks always have names, and it wouldn’t be surprising for a block to be renamed after Mandela. In fact, if this show hadn’t done it it probably would have happened in real life.

“Near area and far area estates” is completely new to me. I live on a social housing estate in London, and did in the 80s too, so I’m sure I’d have heard it if it was common. I guess it could possibly be a South London thing because there are a few differences.

I’ve been ninja’d twice over and have little to add. Never heard of “Near Estate” although there are plenty of estates in Peckham and it may be a term used locally.

During the 1980s as the so-called “Looney Left” politicians gained power in all sorts of big cities boroughs there was a spate of naming and renaming streets and buildings after various left wing and black inspirational figures.

The most popular were Mandela and his fellow South African Steve Biko.


Is it possible that Near Area Estates and Far Area Estates were not terms but the names of estates within the show? Unoriginal and only mildly humorous, but then so are the Umbrella Corporation in fiction or the Related Companies in real life. :slight_smile:

Very possible, which is why I posted this question in Café instead of General Questions; also, the paucity of links to those terms which were not related to the show itself gave me pause to think that it was some term made up for the show, but I wasn’t sure (I semi-binged on watching episode starting from Series 1 over the past few weeks, and pausing the video to Google a term - starting with “Persil” - was not uncommon for me). I think the term Near Area Estate shows up for the first time in the Series 6 opener (when Rodney first meets Cassandra in night school), but not sure if the name “Nelson Mandela House” is used earlier than that - OTOH, a sign with that name clearly appear in the background of Series 6 Episode 2, when Del and Rodney are smuggling out the inflated “love” dolls…

I live in south London - not very far from Nelson Mandela Way, as it happens - and, sure, the block could easily have been called that by the late 80s. You got to remember, nationally Mandela was important from the 70s during the Rock Against Racism period - The Clash, etc. I remember we danced on each others shoulders to this at parties and Uni from 84

OFaH is set in Peckham, part of what was then eupheistically called 'The Peoples' Republic of South London' - a lot of left-leaning local authorites.

London in general and my area of south London in particular (Brixton) was the centre of opposition to Aparthiad South Africa and Mandela was a focus. Everyone around here supported the ANC, and in a real activism way, from the 70s. The ANC set up here and those who left South Africa headed here.

In fact when Mandela got out, he came specifically to Brixton to thank the people - that was some day; kids didn’t go to school, people didn’t go to work … a great party day. Typical for Brixton, no one thought to record it properly:


A nice 30 second speech that sort of describes the sentiment of the time - at this point Mandela was still in prison and this was a 70th birthday concert in his honour:


Just came across this, they don’t say Near Area but Nyerere Estate.

Parodied in Judge Dredd, where housing blocks are named after luminaries like Enid Blyton and Ricardo Montalban. Dredd himself has an apartment in Rowdy Yates.

After I read your reply, I searched for the term and found several OFaH trivia sites indicate that you are indeed correct - the name of the estate was ‘Nyerere Estate’ (in some episodes it was called ‘Dockside’, probably a continuity error). Likely it refers to former President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, in keeping with the African political names theme (at least it makes sense - wait, this thread is about OFaH - I mean “You Know It Makes Sense”)

Now, what did they mean by “Far-Area” estate (or whatever term the characters actually used and I misheard).