Inside the Houses

It wasn't a very big, imposing place ...

Image accompanying MP3 audio clip: Fred Yule's memories of a parlour-type house ( KB)

Fred Yule's memories of a parlour-type house

Plan by permission of City of London, London Metropolitan Archives

Gwen Abbott remembers the unaccustomed space

Photo:A corner unit of housing

A corner unit of housing

City of London, London Metropolitan Archives

The houses and flats on St. Helier had to be built as economically as possible but the buildings had to comply with the Tudor Walter's standards for council housing, which had been created in 1918.

Tudor Walters advised that there should be no more than twelve houses per acre and that each house should have a floor space of at least 760 sq. ft. Minimum room sizes were set down and large windows with rot-proof metal window frames were required. Although not spacious, new tenants were often delighted with their new living space.

The plans

The plans for the estate were supervised by G.Topham Forrest who had previously designed council housing at Becontree and Burnt Oak, Edgeware. Some of the plans now deposited at the London Metropolitan Archive Office have 'Becontree' deleted and 'St. Helier' stamped on instead.

There were a number of standard designs. The 'parlour' type offered more space for larger families, while the distinctive corner blocks created an impressive frontage for each of the three homes included in them. Some houses, particularly at the Morden end of the estate, had a separate bathroom upstairs, while the smaller cottage had to make do with a bath in the kitchen. All toilets were inside the building.

Jean remembers the two-bedroom houses

Two bedrooms.  It was only - in through the front door, a small  porch, stairs and the bath was in the kitchen. So it wasn't a very big, imposing place that you could have a lot of  visitors there. (Jean Kitchener née Fitches)

Photo:A corner unit of housing

A corner unit of housing

Renee Cromarty

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 01/08/2010.
Comments about this page

My husband and I came here In 1976 and have been here since, there have been many changes since then and. most residents have moved or demised. We also have made changes to the house since we bought it and it is now our forever home. we love it here, especially our 100ft garden. The only way we will go is in our box hahaha.

By doreen carman
On 24/01/2014

Yes (Jean), the bath was in the kitchen in our home and next to it was the 'copper', a large copper tub with a gas ring underneath.  You filled the 'copper' with water (mains supplied) and lit the gas ring to heat it.  When hot enough you ladled the water from the 'copper' into the bath with a saucepan. 

The whole estate was a friendly place, you knew the names of all in your street (Tewkesbury Road) a far cry from as is now :(  My mother moved in to the house as a young girl when the house was new and stayed until 2010.  She was the last survivor of those in the street from the past.  When she left she didn't know anyone in the street. :(

By Ivor Caple
On 27/01/2019

Oh,those days Ivor, few had cars and all were friendly.

By Den O'Brien
On 12/05/2019

I was the first born in Buckfast road in 1932. We had a copper in the “scullery” lit by a coal burner with a syphon to take the hot water to the bathroom up stairs ( nearly always cold). The houses were built for £139 now selling for £44,000

By Den Miles
On 10/06/2024

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