The area to the west of Lee station had been developed in the decades following the arrival of the railway – Lee station opened in 1866. The Lee Manor Conservation Area started ti be built soon after and the area beyond it filled over the next few decades – much of it by the local builders John Pound and later W. J. Scudamore. The maps below from 1863, 1898 and 1914 show the gradual development clearly (1). This post looks at some of the later development – Woodyates and Pitfold Roads, originally referred to as the Woodstock Estate. But first a bit of context …
Other than along Burnt Ash Road and Hill, the area to the south and east of the station remained cultivated though. This was partly by farms such as Burnt Ash and Horn Park which survived until the 1920s and 1930s respectively; but also nurseries run by the Maller family. These were the days before the arrival of the South Circular with St Mildred’s Road ending as a T junction at Burnt Ash Hill.
Grant funding was made available in 1933 for the dual carriageway of Westhorne Avenue to link up with the section from Well Hall Road to Eltham Road that had been completed in 1930. However, it is clear that preparations for Westhorne Avenue had been on the go for a few years before that, as developments were being drawn up either side which backed onto the new road. On the northern side was a development originally known as the Woodstock Estate – now referred to as Woodyates and Pitfold Roads.
Woodstock Road was the original name of what is now Woodyates Road; however it was merely a short lane to the Board of Works Depot (above) and to a Post Office Sorting Office (below). These will be covered in specific posts in their own right in early 2023, both are now part of Jasmine Court.
The Woodstock Estate itself was advertised for sale in the 1931 Lewisham Council Handbook (2), and no doubt other places too; prior to development it had been allotments and part of the Maller and Sons nursery as the map below shows (3). It had originally been part of Lee Green Farm and is likely that it was the location that the parachutist Robert Cocking met his death.
The houses offered much subtle variety in style with the house in the architect’s impression having proved hard to find, the nearest seemed to be the top of the trio pictured. They have been much altered since they were built with lots of extensions upwards and outwards. Those that have remained close to the way they were built are now around 1000 times more expensive than when they were initially advertised. Sales of 3 bedroom houses in late 2020 and early 2021 were £615,000 and £545,000 with a garage in Woodyates and Pitfold Roads respectively. While the development was next to the about to be built South Circular, unlike the earlier developments along St Mildred’s Road, there was no frontage onto it – the development backed onto it with generally quite large gardens from Pitfold Road.
The was another development from the same year that would have offered strong competition a little way to the west – the Verant Lane Estate, whihc included roads like South Park and Further Green Road.
Some of the original green of the allotments were retained as part of the development (see bottom photograph above) which was certainly grander than the Scudamore developed homes of Holme Lacey Road from a similar era. A small gated green area remains at the south eastern corner of the development. In the middle of the estate a limited amount of allotments were retained too, although this too succumbed to development in the end. It is now home to a church which, on a cursory glance, appears to offer grim consequences for the non-believer (4).
As for the developers, G H Builders, they seem to have been a medium sized builders in the south east, building homes in Carshalton and Banstead in 1930; however an on-line newspaper search gleaned little more information.
The agents W & H Elliotts were based at the same address as the developers. Again, little was to be found of them in on line newspaper and other searches other than a similar development to the Woodstock Estate in Edgware in 1933 (5). The company may still be in existence, a private company incorporated in 1931 from the same era still exists.
And finally… Who lived on the Woodstock Estate? The 1939 Register was collected just after the start of the War, and the research for this post included looking at who was there in the low numbers of Woodyates Road (excluding those at the Sorting Office and Council Depot) for the 20 homes on the north side of the street. All were occupied.
The households were small – the average fractionally over three and none bigger than five. This may have been a slight understatement of those living there a couple of years before as the children will have been evacuated almost a month before the 1939 Register was taken. There was only one with a couple of redactions – people who are or may still be alive, so a good indicator of children.
The average age of head and partner was almost 48, the median (mid-point) was 49 – about eight years older than their counterparts on Further Green Road – an estate built at the same time. The average age was a dozen or more years older than the Arts and Crafts flats on Old Road and the Art Deco Lee Court on Lee High Road which were also built in that period.
Very few women worked outside the home – those that did tended to be the grown-up children of the road – there were a trio of shorthand typists, a couple of clerks, a draper’s assistant, and a milliner (perhaps working at Lee Green’s Reeds) and a machinist.
The men were a mixture of professional, clerical and skilled manual jobs, they included a Stonemason, several Civil Servants, a Brewery Manager; the grown-up children had jobs of less seniority. Only one was entitled to the Heavy Work supplement which entitled extra rations.
We’ll return to the former Woodstock Road to look at the Parish Offices and Sorting Office.
- The maps are on a Creative Commons from the National Library of Scotland from 1863, 1898 and 1914
- This image was copied from somewhere on social media in mid-2017, I thought that it was the excellent cornucopia of all things London local government – LCC Municipal – mainly to be found on Twitter, but I was mistaken – so if you posted it do tell me so that I can properly credit you!
- On a Creative Commons from the National Library of Scotland
- Some cropping happened with this photograph ….. the warning is for an electricity sub station
- Hendon & Finchley Times 24 March 1933
The 1939 Register data is via Find My Past – subscription required