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. Most of the Lee Manor Conservation Area was built soon after and the area beyond it filled over the next few decades – much of it by the local builders W. J. Scudamore. The maps below from 1863, 1898 and 1914 show the gradual development clearly (1).
The area to the south and east remained farmland though – with farms already covered in the blog such as Burnt Ash and Horn Park farms surviving until the 1920s and 1930s respectively. 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), the former it was taken over by the new borough of Lewisham after local government re-organisation in 1899. Before looking at the Woodstock Estate it is worth pausing briefly at this end of the street.
Both the Sorting Office and the Council Depot have relatively imposing facades and are locally listed. They are now in residential use as part of Jasmine Court and have been sympathetically converted into houses with new homes which are in keeping with the old, added on the former yards
On the opposite side of Woodyates Road, the original street name is retained through a block of 1930s flats (see above) with a few nods towards Art Deco, Woodstock Court, which wraps around the junction with Burnt Ash Hill with shops on the main road.
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 a nursery as the map below shows (3). It had probably 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 close to 1000 times more expensive than when they were initially advertised. Sales of 3 bedroom houses in early 2017 were £585,000 and £600,000 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.
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.
- 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