Two instrumented embankments built on a double-porosity landfill of clayey lumps were monitored in situ and modelled in a geotechnical drum centrifuge. Field measurements of hydrostatic levelling, depth reference points and pore pressure gauges showed high and variable compressibility of the landfills. Introductory modelling in a mini-centrifuge, combined with oedometer testing, demonstrated the key mechanisms in the double-porosity fills: irreversible deformation at low stress ranges as a result of rearrangement of the lumps, and reversible deformation (swelling) at higher stresses, similar to the behaviour of reconstituted material. Placing fill under water resulted in high initial void ratios followed by large deformations while loading. Dry filling followed by saturation may be recommended for further development of the landfills in future. Data from the geotechnical centrifuge models confirmed that permeability was controlled by the complex structure of the clay fills. Similarly to the field measurements, there were significant initial settlements on loading as a result of compression of open macro-voids. The double-porosity structure in the fresh fill allowed excess pore pressures to dissipate quickly, which accelerated the consolidation process initially. Thereafter, dissipation was controlled by the permeability of the intragranular pores in the clay, once the intergranular pores had closed.