Tag Archives: Crown Tavern

Corona Road – The History of a Lee Street

The word ‘Corona’ with the suffix of ‘virus’ is currently striking fear into the population of much of the world.  In a leafier part of Lee, just off Burnt Ash Hill, there is a street with the name which pre-dates the virus by 140 years and has a much more benign meaning – ‘something suggesting a crown.’  This post looks at some of the history of the street and the neighbouring area.

The land to the east of Burnt Ash Hill in Lee had been probably been in the ownership of the Crown since 1305 as part of the estate of the Eltham Palace which was originally used for hunting.  The area has been covered several times by Running Past in relation to two of the farms on the land, Horn Park and Melrose Farms, as well is in passing in relation to pubs linked to John Pound – including The Crown.

As the city expanded with coming of the railways, they arrived in Lee 1866, the Crown began to sell off fields for housing and related activities.  One of these sales was land for a brick works on the corner of Burnt Ash Hill and what would become Winn Road – a hundred metres or so down the road from another of Lee’s farms, College Farm.  By the 1850s these were, at least partially, owned by John Pound – one of the more significant builders of the Northbrook estate (generally to the west of Burnt Ash Road and Hill) who, as mentioned, also built a quartet of pubs plus a public hall for popular entertainment.

It appears that the brick works was bought by William Winn by 1874 as he had made an application soon after to build what was to become The Crown pub (above) on land which was formerly part of the brick works; in the application he was described as a lighterman and barge owner living at 16 St Stephen’s Road in Bow (1).  Despite being married to Elizabeth, he was living there separately as a lodger, something that was still the case in 1881.   There was another William Winn who was the bailiff at Burnt Ash Farm in the 1850s and early 1860s of a similar age both from East London; however, unless William Winn had two families, it wasn’t him.

In addition to Corona Road, the roads developed by Winn were the eponymous Winn Road and Guibal Road, along with some houses on the eastern side of Burnt Ash Hill.  The early press reports for what was initially called the Burnt Ash Hill Estate are silent on the builder.  However, William Baker who was based at 43 Ronver Road in the 1881 census and employing 12 men, was mentioned in the second phase of the development of the street applying for permission to build 5 homes on the north (2) and 5 on the south side of Corona Road.  So it is quite possible that he built the entire estate.  The houses were substantial ones at the edge of Victorian suburbia – beyond and to the back was rural Kent – as the Ordnance Survey map from 1897 shows.

While the Board of works provided four gas street lights in 1881 (3), it wasn’t until 1889 that they adopted the street and planted lime trees (4); the Board had previously refused to do this, despite complaints from residents, until the builder brought it up to an acceptable standard (5).

It isn’t known how much the houses were sold for but the annual rent was 55 Guineas (£55.25) in 1882, applications could be made at 15 Corona Road which was perhaps being used as a show house for the second phase of houses (6).  This house, now numbered 61, is the only remaining one from the 1880s – it is the left of the two above..

Four years later number 5 was for rent and was described as (7) being in a

Rural situation, on high ground with bracing air.  Near station, shops and tennis ground. Kent £60

The tennis ground was in the apex of Corona Road and Guibal Road and was probably lost in the 1930s as the southern section of Woodyates Road was developed – it isn’t clear whether this was part of the same development as the northern part of the road which was covered a while ago in Running Past.

So who lived there?  A few of the houses were occupied and sold or rented out by the time the census enumerators called in 1881 – in Corona Road itself, only 9 was let or sold, it was home to the Powells – Harry was a senior Civil Servant.  Several on the wider Burnt Ash Hill Estate were the temporary homes to those working for the builders.  Archibald Harrison who was living in one of the houses on Corona Road ‘Burgoyne Cottage;’ he was described as ‘Builder and Decorator, Master’ in the census – it is possible that he may have built some of the estate, or have been a subcontractor for William Baker.

Next to The Crown, on the corner of Corona Road, at Corona Villa, was Elizabeth Winn the seemingly estranged wife of William, their two adult children including William (born 1859) and three servants.  It is worth pausing on the middle one of these, which given the issues that have brought the street name to the fore in 2020, her name seems depressingly apt – Mary Le Fever (see above).  This is almost certainly an enumerator mangling the relatively common French name for an ironworker or smith – Lefèvre.

By the time the census enumerators called again in 1891 Corona Road was an established community. Archibald Harrison, the builder and decorator was still there. The rest of the street clearly oozed wealth an included several were living on their own means, with inherited wealth or had retired with a sizeable income; there was an East India Merchant, a Shipowner and broker, an Accountant, a Civil Engineer and a Chemical Manufacturer. Virtually all had servants, most had more than one.  Elizabeth Winn was still thereon the corner of the street but marked as a widow, with her daughter Maria who was also a widow.

A decade later Archibald Harrison remained and the ‘class’ of occupant was much the same and included a grain merchant, a confectioner, a hardware merchant, a wholesale bookseller, a couple of living on their own means, a shopkeeper, a retired engineer, a solicitor and an accountant. There was also a Mantle manufacturer, George Smith, perhaps the supplier for Alexander Aitken’s shop next to the Lee Green fire station. Again virtually all had servants.

By 1911, not that much had changed, the households were still relatively small in the large houses, almost all with a servant – amongst the occupants was still George Smith, his neighbours included a retired builder, an artist (living on her own means), another living on own means, a ship broker, a company secretary, a bookseller, and a bank cashier.

The 1939 Register was compiled soon after war broke out. A lot had changed since the 1911 census, only one, quite old household had a servant and the household incomes sources and occupations had changed dramatically – jobs now included a teacher, a municipal accountant, office maintenance worker

Corona Road, more particularly the northern side of it fared badly in World War 2, the London County Council maps show much of that side destroyed or damaged beyond repair (8). By 1948 when the Ordnance Survey surveyors mapped the post war urban landscape, that side of the road was full prefab bungalows, no doubt not dissimilar to those that are still present (spring 2020) on the Excalibur Estate a mile to the west.

From the exterior of the current blocks and houses the prefabs were probably replaced in the late 1950s or early 1960s by Lewisham Council.

On the opposite side of the road while the bomb damage maps had marked the land as less badly damaged, the site seems to have been cleared by 1948.  This was presumably for the blocks of Elwyn Gardens, which look as though they may have been built soon after the war.

The housing at the western end of Corona Road is newer, perhaps from the early 1980s, following the demolition on the houses facing Burnt Ash Hill.  Like the rest of the estate, where homes have not been sold under right to buy, it is now owned and managed by a housing association L&Q.

Either side of the only house from the 1880s (pictured above), there are a few what look like 1930s houses, but almost certainly date from the 1950s given the wartime destruction.

Notes

  1. Kentish Mercury – 29 August 1874
  2. Woolwich Gazette – 02 October 1880
  3. Kentish Independent – 10 December 1881
  4. Woolwich Gazette -27 September 1889
  5. Kentish Independent -13 November 1886
  6. 22 September 1882 – Kentish Mercury
  7. 26 February 1886 – London Daily News
  8. Laurence Ward(2015) ‘The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945’

 

Credits

  • A massive thank you to Pat Chappelle who made the link of Corona Road to the correct William Winn – any subsequent errors are, of course, mine.
  • The 1881 census image is via Find My Past as are all the other census, 1939 Register and related references – subscription required
  • The Ordnance Survey maps from 1897 and 1948 are via the National Library of Scotland on a Non-Commercial Licence

Pound’s Pubs

Running Past has covered several pubs that, for a variety of reasons, have been consigned to history – such as The Northover on the edge of the Downham Estate, the Plough and the Roebuck in Lewisham town centre, and Lee High Road’s Woodman and Prince Arthur.  This post is somewhat different in that it covers a quartet of fine looking Victorian boozers that are still pulling pints for the residents of the southern part of Lee  and Grove Park – the Crown, the Summerfield, the Northbrook and the Baring Hall at Grove Park.  All are the work of one man – John Pound.
As was covered in a previous post, Pound is, perhaps, better known as one of the major Victorian developers of Lee and Grove Park, along with some streets in Blackheath.    It is clear that like James Watt a generation later, he understood that, in addition to building homes, money could be made from leisure activities built adjacent to the housing.  For the non-conformist Watt though pubs would have been an anathema, he built cinemas and skating rinks instead.

Pound was born in Blackheath in 1827. He was the son of publicans, Thomas and Sarah, who ran the Three Tuns pub  (now O’Neill’s), above, in Tranquil Vale in Blackheath from 1824 (1).  In the 1851 census he was living at the pub and listed by the enumerators as a joiner, as was his younger brother Richard. His older brother William took over the tenancy in 1853 on his father’s death (2) and seems to have stayed there until his own death in 1878. The current building post-dates the Pounds as it was rebuilt around 1885 (3).

(from information board at Lee Green)

He married into the pub trade – his wife, Rose, was daughter of Caroline  Morton who ran the (Old) Tiger’s Head at Lee Green above for over 2 decades in the mid 19th century, initially with her husband Charles, but for most of the time on her own after being widowed in 1844.

John Pound was already a well established developer, living in Lee, by the time he built his first pub, the Lord Northbrook (above) in 1866 – named after the Lord of the Manor, and at the time the major landowner of the area.  The family wealth as was covered in a post on Lee’s Manor House, was at least partially derived from slavery. The Northbrook is situated on the corner of Southbrook Road (Southbrook is a reference to part of the village of Micheldever, close to the Northbrook’s Hampshire house at Stratton Park).

Pound whilst the first landlord, didn’t live on site, although his home was only a few doors away – roughly where Bellamys Citroen garage is currently sited.  There were some grumbling by the licencing magistrates about him not living on-site when the licence was considered in 1866 – the pub was described as being part of a ‘flourishing neighbourhood’ (4).  By the following August Arthur Bowker had become the licensee.

The Summerfield (formerly Tavern), above, was named after the street which it stands on the corner of what is now Baring Road.  Summerfield, as the name suggests, was a field pre-development – it may have originally been part of the land used by the Butterfield Dairy on the next street – originally Butterfield Street now Waite Davies Road.

It is not absolutely certain that Pound built the Summerfield Tavern, although there is strong very strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he did.  He almost certainly developed the neighbouring Summerfield Street along with the terrace to the south of the pub on Baring Road.  There were also mentions in the press describing the area to the south of the about to be built school on the then Bromley Road as ‘Pound’s Estate.’ The first licencee was his younger brother Richard from September 1870 with his sister-in-law Ann taking on the tenancy in 1874 after the death of her husband.  She probably stayed there until around 1879/80 when landlord became a C Harding (5).


The Crown (initially Hotel now Tavern) is located on what is now called Burnt Ash Hill, south of the South Circular, close to Winn Road.  The link here to Pound is less certain but it is a pub generally attributed to him – if nothing more as the builder.

Unlike the other pubs covered, the land seems to have been in Crown ownership – a remnant of the former hunting lodges of Eltham Palace, covered in relation to Lee Green and Horn Park Farms.  Neighbouring land had been used by Pound as brickfield from the 1850s until 1874 when the lease was sold (6).  At this point there was already a beer house on the site – a licence to sell beer but not wine and spirits (this is explored more in the post on the New Tiger’s Head).  There were references to the Crown Beer House from 1872 (7).

The land seems to have been bought at the auction in 1874, or soon after, by William Winn.  The current building was completed in 1878 and was a granted a full licence in the September session at the Green Man to the then licensee – James Playford (8).  Winn was almost certainly the developer of the pub, and also developed the original houses in Corona, Guibal and Winn Road (see note from Pat below) and Pound probably the buider.

 

The Baring Hall (above) was due to open around 1880 and Pound had applied for a licence on that basis, but it didn’t open until the autumn of the following year (9). Like the other pubs built by Pound, it is a lovely building, opposite Grove Park station. It was designed by local architect Ernest Newton who was also behind the listed Lochaber Hall, the original Church of the Good Shepherd and St Swithun’s Church on Hither Green Lane.

Pound was to remain the landlord until 1886 (10) when it was transferred to William Basnett, who was already involved with running the business – he was mentioned in relation to a theft case from the Baring Hall in 1883 (11).

The Baring Hall suffered a fire in the early 2000s and survived planning applications to demolish it in 2011 and 2012. The building is locally listed although English Heritage declined to give it a national listing and the degree of protection that goes with it in 2011, although was given the status Asset of Community Value (ACV) for 5 years from 2013. It was eventually re-opened as a pub by Antic in December 2014.  At the time of writing (January 2018), there is a campaign to extend the life of the ACV to ensure that it remains a pub.

Unlike many of the pubs to the north and west Pound’s quartet have not succumbed to either the bulldozer or the developer, and from the outside at least, remain thriving, welcoming splendid looking pubs.  In part, their longevity relates to the relative lack of competition that each of them has and has had in the past particularly those in Lee.   – something at least partially controlled by one of the big landowners of the area – Lord Northbrook – whose family name remains in two of them – the Northbrook and the Baring Hall.

Notes

  1. Neil Rhind (1983) Blackheath Village and Environs Volume 2 p364
  2. Ibid
  3. Ken White (1992) The Public Houses of Lee & Lewisham p243
  4. Kentish Mercury 28 September 1866
  5. White op cit p240
  6. Kentish Mercury 30 May 1874
  7. Kentish Mercury 20 July 1872
  8. Kentish Independent 5 October 1878
  9. Kentish Independent 27 August 1881
  10. Kentish Mercury 12 November 1886
  11. Woolwich Gazette 14 September 1883

Thank to Pat Chappelle, see comment below, for correcting me on The Crown and adding some interesting details on William Winn.