Tag Archives: John Pound

Variety, Soap Suds and Building Supplies – The Story of Lee Public Halls

At the Burnt Ash Road end of Holme Lacey Road, set back from the road, is a London Stock brick building which has been largely covered by the signage of its current owners – Travis Perkins. While the building itself has been much extended and altered, at its core is a 1870s building that started as Lee Public Halls – briefly home to variety, light entertainment and numerous Victorian Societies and later, as the title suggests, put to a variety of other uses.

The ‘proprietor’ and no doubt builder of the Lee Public Halls was John Pound – builder of much of Burnt Ash, Grove Park and bits of Blackheath along with a quartet of the area’s pubs. There were two linked brick buildings one holding up to 1000 the other 400 which were ‘suitable for concerts and public meetings’, they were probably built around 1876. The original site included a frontage onto Burnt Ash Hill, now largely occupied by Bellamy’s Citroën dealership.

The Victorians liked their Societies and needed venues for them – Blackheath had the Concert Halls, built by William Webster’s firm of builders, and the Arts Club; the northern part of Lee had the Lee Working Men’s Institution on Old Road (which was nothing of the sort and will be covered in a later post), but South Lee had nothing equivalent in the way of halls for Societies and entertainment. Lee Public Halls, along with the Station, the shops and the pubs was probably part of the package that Pound was using to sell the homes he was building.

The earliest references to the Halls are at the beginning of 1878 where Professor Era ‘the Popular Illusionist’ performed giving his ‘marvellous and amusing entertainment.’ Like many of the evening entertainments, it was effectively a benefit, with proceeds going to the ‘Burnt Ash Mothers Meeting.’ (1)

Another early benefit was by the Lee Literary and Musical Society who gave a musical recital in aid of Lee Crèche, an organisation which provided for ‘poor children’ in the absence of their mothers during working hours (8 am to 9 pm). The Hall was filled and the ‘audience good’ (2).

During the day the Halls were regularly used as an auction hall for furniture (3). There was an attempt to set up a school there in 1879, although this doesn’t appear to have come to fruition (4).

Political meetings were held there from early in its life, the first recorded one being a large one concerning flooding in the Quaggy and Ravensbourne catchments in May 1878 – an early incarnation of the Quaggy Waterways Action Group, perhaps (5).  It noted that 2000 homes had been flooded in the area in April 1878 and asked the Metropolitan Board of Works to do something about it.

Penny Readings were regular fayre; they seemed to follow the standard, well established form that had been in place for 20 years consisting of readings and other performances, usually by local people. While when they were introduced the charge was as the name implied, by the time they reached Lee, the charges were 2/- (10p) for the reserved seats and 6d (2.5p) for unreserved seats (6). The Penny Readings were popular entertainment with, in the early years, 800 often present (7).

The next door neighbour to Lee Public Halls when they opened was Northbrook Cricket Club, which we have covered before in relation to a suffragette arson attack on their pavilion in early 1914. The Halls were the venue for an annual fundraising concert for the club, the 1878 edition saw the Hall was ‘tastefully arranged and adorned with evergreens and flower, (and) was comfortably filled with a select and appreciative audience.’  (8)

The 1880 version saw apparent favourites of Queen Victoria, the Royal Hand-Bell Ringers and Glee Singers perform. The tickets were only slightly more expensive than the Penny Readings (9).

One of the regular variety acts at Lee Public Hall was the Royal Black Diamond Minstrels (see below, 10)  – they were described as ‘popular exponents of negro minstreley.’ While such entertainment is racist and very dated, it remained popular up until the late 1970s when one of their successor groups, the Black and White Minstrels, still regularly appeared on prime time television on Saturday evenings – oddly for a while featuring Lenny Henry. In the 1880s it was considered family entertainment with generally white performers using burnt cork as make up and ‘enacting comic songs and dances with often grotesquely stereotyped caricatures of black behaviour.’  The Black Diamond Minstrels appeared several times to packed houses, ‘crowded to excess.’ (11)

The local Societies regularly used the Halls as a venue – a regular was South Lee and Burnt Ash Dahlia Society which held annual competitions there (12).

As noted above, benefit concerts and amateur dramatics were a staple fayre at the Halls – an early one in May 1878 was a fundraiser for the building of St Mildred’s – there was a poor turnout due to the ‘inclement weather’ (13).  By the autumn of the following year there were fortnightly concerts and entertainments raising funds to build the church (14) and pay for the organ – there was a concert with piano, several violins and vocalists in November 1879 (15).

Indirectly, the funding of benefit concerts for St Mildred’s was probably one of the things that contributed to the Halls demise as a venue. The building of churches and other halls locally will have reduced the revenue stream and it is noticeable from the early 1880s that local press coverage of events there diminished considerably.

By mid-1885 the building had been put to a new use – an advertisement in the Kentish Mercury in July announced that ‘The Public Hall Sanitary Steam Laundry’ was now in operation. A smaller advert in the same edition ‘Ladies desiring the van to call may send post card to the Manageress’ and could also come and have a look at the new machinery (16).

These were days before washing machines and, in middle class Lee, it would not be expected that the women (and certainly not the men….) of the households would be undertaking domestic drudgery of this type. As we saw in the first of the posts on Ardmere Road, taking in laundry for wealthier neighbours was commonplace. A step up from this were laundries – a little later local suffragette Clara Lambert came from a family that had set up a laundry and worked in it herself for many years.

There were adverts most weeks for staff in the ‘Kentish Mercury’, a few examples included:

  • Woman & boy for wash house (17)
  • Experienced preparer ‘none but good hands need apply’ (18);
  • Best ironers, tall drier also good washer (19);
  • Experienced folder wanted (tall preferred) (20).

It is possible that John Pound still had an interest in the building into the 1890s; there were attempts to sells it, along with Pound’s Estate Office (2 Burnt Ash Hill) opposite in the months after his bankruptcy. The laundry was let at £150 pa, and was noted as having a frontage of 81′ onto Burnt Ash Hill ‘thoroughly ripe for the erection of business premises.’ (21)

There were several similar adverts over the next few months, so perhaps surprisingly, the laundry remained and the frontage onto Burnt Ash remained undeveloped (22).

By 1905, it appears that a small portion of the frontage was let to decorators – Edmund James Tagg, but the Public Halls Steam Laundry, then under the control of W P Cowan remained as having an address with a frontage onto Burnt Ash Hill.

Little changed until the 1920 when two motor trade businesses were to take over the front – in the 1927 Kelly’s Directory Albert Tooley’s Station Garage and Lee Auto Services were on the Burnt Ash Hill frontage, with the shortened Public Hall Laundry now accessed from the W J Scudamore developed Holme Lacey Road (the map below shows the site from 1950 (23))

By 1941 Scudamore’s were using part of the site of the laundry, whether this marked a slight scaling back of operations isn’t clear. By 1953 the ‘Public Halls’ had been dropped from the name – it was now known as ‘Supreme Laundry.’ The last mention of the laundry was in 1962, when Lee Public Halls name had been restored. In 1963, the Halls were home to South London Engineering and Sheet Metal – they seem to have diversified into electrical equipment and air conditioning and were still there in the late 1980s when the last local Kelly’s Directories seem to have been published – replaced over time by Yellow Pages, Thompsons and the Internet.

View of rear of building from the Chiltonian Industrial Estate

As for Scudamores, they remained on the site until they went bankrupt in 1966; for a few years another building contractor – M E Lee seem to have used part of the site but they had gone by the mid-1970s. The current occupants are Travis Perkins and while the overall impression is of a builders supply yard, bits of the original building can still be glimpsed and it is still just about possible to imagine the carriages drawing up at 9:45 for the wealthy suburban citizens of Lee having seen the Royal Handbell Ringers and Glee Singers in February 1880 (24).

Notes

  1. Kentish Mercury 05 January 1878
  2. Kentish Mercury 16 February 1878
  3. Kentish Mercury 07 December 1878, but lots of other examples
  4. Kentish Mercury 05 July 1879
  5. Kentish Mercury 04 May 1878
  6. Kentish Mercury 19 April 1879
  7. Kentish Mercury 26 October 1878
  8. Kentish Mercury 02 February 1878
  9. Kentish Mercury 24 January 1880
  10. Kentish Mercury 01 November 1879
  11. Kentish Mercury 08 November 1879
  12. Kentish Mercury 20 September 1879
  13. Kentish Mercury 25 May 1878
  14. Kentish Mercury 15 November 1879
  15. Kentish Mercury 01 November 1879
  16. Kentish Mercury 31 July 1885
  17. Kentish Mercury 27 February 1891
  18. Kentish Mercury 03 February 1893
  19. Kentish Mercury 14 May 1897
  20. Kentish Mercury 12 August 1910
  21. Kentish Mercury 29 May 1896
  22. Kentish Mercury 04 December 1896
  23. On a Creative Commons via the National Library of Scotland http://maps.nls.uk/view/103032888
  24. Kentish Mercury 24 January 1880

The non-hyperlinked references to Directories are from the Blackheath, Greenwich and Lee Kelly’s Directories (pre-World War 2), the later ones are from the Kelly’s London Directories. Both were accessed via the always helpful, and under resourced, Lewisham Archives.

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The Three Schools of the Trinity

The new Trinity School on Taunton Road in Lee has an imposing presence, some suggest it is somewhat overbearing for the location within an area where Victorian terraces predominate.  Whatever, the current architectural merit of the school, the site has an interesting history – it is the third generation of schools to have been on the site – this post explores some of the history of its predecessors which were known as Hedgley Street and Northbrook.

When the Ordnance Survey cartographers surveyed the area in 1863, the site was part of the then extended grounds of the Manor House (1).  The beginnings of the first school were only a few years later – the first on-line mention of it seems to have been granting permission to the local builder John Pound, to ‘erect an infant school in Hedgley Street’ at Lee and Kidbrooke Board of Works meeting in July 1870 (1). John Pound has been covered a couple of times before in Running Past – both in relation to the large number of houses he built around Lee as well as a quartet of pubs.

The land appears to have been given by Lord Northbrook in 1871 (2) and was described as a

Piece of land situate in Hedgley Street, Lee, containing on the south 100 feet, on the north 129 feet, on the west 213 feet and on the east 255 feet or thereabouts ….to be used as a school for the education of the children of labouring and other poor persons of the parish of Lee.

The school itself didn’t open until 1884 (4) and was called Hedgley Street; whether the builder was Pound is unclear, by that stage he had scaled back his operations and was living in Dickens former home in Kent, then home to his daughter and her husband. The Head Teachers of the Junior Schools, either from their opening or certainly very soon after, were a George Bazeley and a Miss Young, with Miss Cripps being Head of the Infant School (5). The Junior School heads were to stay well into the new century. What is presumably the frontage onto Taunton Road is pictured below (6)

Like all the local schools children from Lee, the children from Hedgley Street will have celebrated Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 at The Cedars on Belmont Hill (7).  There was a similar celebration a decade later for the Diamond Jubilee – this time, it acted partially as a fundraiser for a new classroom at the school (8).

Press reports noted a successful inspection visit by Her Majesty’s Inspectors – an early Ofsted – it was noted that at the boys’ school, still under the stewardship of George Bazeley ‘scholars were well behaved and made good progress.’ The girls school the press report noted ‘fully maintained its reputation.’ (9)

The school started to receive London County Council (LCC) funding in 1903 and seems to have changed its name to Northbrook at around this point (10). Coming under the auspices of the LCC, higher standards of accommodation and facilities seem to have been expected. After a surveyors report in early1905, significant works were agreed by LCC Education Committee – including tarmacking the playground, provision of cloakrooms, a new hall, rebuilding offices (11).

However, the school clearly struggled to fund works required of them by the LCC – it had spent over £800 by the spring of the following year but hadn’t done work to heating and other works that would cost in total another £1200 (12).  In the end the governors had to take out a mortgage of £1000 to undertake work required by LCC (13).

During the Blitz the children were evacuated to Ashford in Kent. The boys (Junior) school was completely destroyed in a daytime raid in 1941 (14), while, as the maps  from pre-war and 1950 (15) show, the girls and infants schools survived, they were seriously damaged – marked beyond repair in the case of the Infants School at the rear in the LCC Bomb Damage Maps (16).

The school never re-assembled as a primary school. It was rebuilt as a secondary school, still named Northbrook. It was designed by Covell and Matthews and built by Unit Construction, as the photograph below shows (17).

It was officially opened by Princess Margaret in December 1957, although children had returned in the summer term of 1957 in ‘small numbers’ – a roll of just 151 with 7 teachers and 6 ‘clergy assistants’ when it first re-opened. It was planned to gradually increase numbers to full complement within 2 years. The funding was a mixture of LCC, local funding from churches and from the Diocese (18). The new school, just after completion is pictured below (19); a 6th form block was added in the following decades at the side of the building.

By the mid-1990s, the school was struggling; in 1995 only 5% of students achieved 5 A-C GCSEs – putting inside the bottom 30 schools in the country (20).  Later Ofsted reports  though, suggested some gradual improvement in the years afterwards.

The current school opened in January 2011, one of the many Building Schools for the Future funded programmes of the 1997 – 2010 Labour Government – it was officially opened in June 2011 by the then Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu along with Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander and the Right Reverend Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark.

There had been opposition about the scale of the development, which was much bigger than its predecessor and went up closer to the boundaries, the new building has a 77 per cent increase in building area and a 50 per cent building.  There were also concerns about the effective encroachment of the playground into Manor House Gardens.

 

Notes

  1. http://maps.nls.uk/view/102343453#
  2. 30 July 1870 – Kentish Independent – London, London, England
  3. Booklet produced by Church of the Good Shepherd, Lee in 1956, p15
  4. ibid
  5. 01 July 1887 – Kentish Mercury – London
  6. Booklet produced by Church of the Good Shepherd op cit, p16
  7. 01 July 1887 – Kentish Mercury – London
  8. 02 July 1897 – Woolwich Gazette – London, London, England
  9. 15 March 1901 – Kentish Mercury – London, London, England
  10. Booklet produced by Church of the Good Shepherd, op cit, p15
  11. 24 March 1905 Kentish Mercury
  12. 4 May 1906 Kentish Mercury
  13. 18 October 1907 – Kentish Mercury – London, London, England
  14. Booklet produced by Church of the Good Shepherd, op cit, p15
  15. The map images are on a Creative Commons Via National Library of Scotland, surveyed in 1914 and 1949 respectively http://maps.nls.uk/view/103313456 http://maps.nls.uk/view/102909226
  16. Laurence Ward (2015) The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps, 1939-1945
  17. Booklet produced by Church of the Good Shepherd, op cit, p16
  18. ibid, p15
  19. ibid, p17
  20. The Times (London, England), Tuesday, November 21, 1995; pg. 2[S]; Issue 65430.

Thank you to the Reverend Shepherd of the Church of the Good Shepherd and Lewisham Archives for allowing me use the photographs of the bomb damage and temporary church (the three black and white photographs in the middle of the post) – they were part of the booklet noted above.

The Tin Tabernacle of Lee

On the corner of Waite Davies Road is an impressive early Edwardian church that Running Past has ‘visited’ before in relation to the naming of the street after its long time pastor,  James Waite Davies, and the Butterfield Dairy of the Clarks a little further down the street.  It probably ought to be listed, at least ‘locally’, but like many ‘deserving’ non-conformist churches and chapels, it isn’t.

However, it isn’t this church that is of interest here, it is its forerunner which was a temporary structure – which was known as either a ‘tin tabernacle’ or a slightly more prosaically and ‘iron church.’

‘Tin tabernacles’ were common in areas that expanded rapidly during the second half of the 19th century – often in northern industrial towns and were linked to the parallel rise of non-conformism.

Their appearance in the Victorian urban landscape, certainly didn’t meet with universal approval, William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement (rather than the eponymous farmer from Lee Green, and later College, Farms) suggested that they ‘were spreading like a pestilence over the country.’

The Bromley Road Tabernacle as it was initially known, due to the former name of Baring Road, has many similarities with its northern counterparts; the small community of South Lee, much of it built by John Pound and sometimes referred to as ‘Pound’s Estate’ had sprung up just to the south of Burnt Ash Farm in the early 1870s.  The drinking and local shopping needs were provided for by Pound when he built the area – a mixture of middle class housing and smaller  homes for workers in his brick fields and building works.  The spiritual needs though had not been catered for.

Permission for ‘temporary iron church’ granted in July 1875, so presumably it was erected fairly soon after that (1).  The ‘tin tabernacles’ were relatively expensive to build, the early ones cost up to £4 per seat plus land and foundations. So even relatively small ones, such as the 200 seat one in Lee, could cost £1000 – no mean feat for working class congregations in areas like that around Summerfield Street.

Source e Bay September 2016

It is unclear whether John Pound had any involvement in the building of the tabernacle, if he did it would have probably been as a business rather than spiritual proposition. While he seems to have been responsible for building the Unite Reform Church on Burnt Ash Road, he is known to have helped fund the building of St Augustine’s in Grove Park, a church he lived almost opposite in the 1870s.

Lee’s temporary iron church didn’t feature much in the local press and the only on-line reference is to some ornate stained glass windows above the main entrance.

There were at least a couple of other ‘tin tabernacles’ around Lee and Hither Green – a short-lived building used by the Hither Green Baptist Church which lasted for 7 years between 1896 and 1903 before being replaced by the permanent building in Theodore Road (2).  Similarly, the Brownhill Road Baptist Church had a tin tabernacle lasting from 1900 to 1925 (3).

Lee’s ‘tin tabernacle’ was to last until the early 20th century – was still there in 1893 Ordnance Survey visited, but had gone by the time they returned in 1914 (4).  It is unclear how important  James Waite Davies was in the building of a permanent home for his congregation – but certainly his arrival in 1905, may have been pivotal.

The tin tabernacles have not been the only temporary church building that Lewisham has seen  – around a 1000 metres away, as the crow flies, is the church of St Mark which is part of the Excalibur Estate (below.

 

Notes

  1. Woolwich Gazette 03 July 1875
  2. Godfrey Smith (1997) Hither Green – The Forgotten Hamlet p52
  3. ibid
  4. Map images on a Creative Commons via the National Library of Scotland

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.

Pound Land – The Homes of John Pound, Victorian Builder & Brick Maker of Lee, Blackheath & Grove Park

Running Past has covered several of the builders who made a substantial mark on the landscape of Lee and Hither Green – W J Scudamore who built large swathes of the Lee from the 1890s to the 1930s, Cameron Corbett of the eponymous estate and others such as W H Elliotts who built Woodyates and Pitfold Roads.  A little earlier than all of these was John Pound who was prolific in Burnt Ash Hill and Roads and what is now Baring Road before moving on to be a prominent developer of Grove Park.
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) 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 elder 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 dates from after the Pounds, as it was rebuilt in the 1880s.  It was the ‘principal village pub’ during the 19th century used by ordinary working people and shopkeepers.  There was a riot there in 1877 with a battle between police and some locals – with as many as 120 involved at Ken point.  Oddly this didn’t prevent the licence being renewed ‘because it was an essential part of ordinary working life in the Village, with its slate clubs, dining room and livery stables.’
In 1851 John Pound seems to have made his first foray into development – being responsible for the building of shops at 13 to 21 Montpelier Vale (below).  It seems that he wasn’t the builder though, that appears to have been the established Blackheath builders, Couchman and Co (3).
Pound’s first known development as a builder was in the mid 1850s with the large villas of 89 to 95 Shooters Hill Road (4), as the same style continues eastwards he may have been responsible for up to 113 too.
John Pound’s life away from building was changing too, he married Rose Morton in 1854.  Rose too was imbued in the pub business – her parents ran the Old Tiger’s Head at Lee Green.  By the time the census enumerators visited their home in Burnt Ash Lane in 1861 they had two daughters.  More importantly in terms of the development of Lee and surrounding areas he was listed as a ‘builder employing 50 men and 10 boys.’
Some of the earliest homes that John Pound built in Lee were some houses in the south eastern quadrant of Lee Green which were developed around 1860, Orchard Terrace on Eltham Road (now the Leegate Centre) and Crown Terrace on Burnt Ash Lane (now Road) which was roughly where Sainsburys is now.
 
In the mid to late 1860s he was developing another street in Blackheath – the initially tenanted large houses in St Johns Park, west of Strathenden Road (5); the houses on the northern side of the road remain (see below).
Probably during the 1860s, possibly earlier, Pound opened or took over a brickworks with clay pits surrounding it, around the current location of Kimbolton Close.  It was certainly there and well established in 1867 when the Ordnance Survey cartographers surveyed the area (see below on a creative commons via the National Library of Scotland).
There was a clay crushing machine on site and on the opposite side of Burnt Ash Hill, roughly where Woodstock Court is currently located (6).  The brickworks were managed by Edgar Drewett who lived next to them in the 1866 (7).  There was another brickworks owned by Pound and run by Drewett on what is now the corner of Winns Road and Burnt Ash Hill.  Oddly,  Drewett was photographer by trade who came from Guildford, he had moved to Burnt Ash in the mid-1860s, and then on to Marvels Lane in 1871.  He had returned to his former trade and hometown by 1881.
His development continued along what is now Baring Road towards Grove Park and more or less parallel along Burnt Ash Hill during the late 1860s and early 1870s.
By 1870 the houses on the eastern side of Burnt Ash Road close to Lee Green, had been built ‘many of them were the work of Blackheath-born builder John Pound (8). He went on to build a lot of houses around Lee Station and further south along Burnt Ash Hill (9). The exact houses aren’t totally clear, the photographs are likely to include some by Pound.
Pound himself moved to one of the houses his firm had built – in the 1871 census Pound was living at Stratton Villa on Burnt Ash Road – the seems to have on the western side, close to the brickworks. Rose though wasn’t there, she had died in 1865.
Around the same time Pound probably built Summerfield Street (pictured below), certainly he had having to get council approval to lay sewers there in late 1871 (10). As has already been noted in relation to what is now Waite Davies Road (originally Butterfield Street), these were quickly to become houses in multiple occupation with many of the occupants working in Pound’s brickfields and labouring – the children of those homes were the
‘roughest element of children to be taught and brought into a satisfactory state of discipline.’
These homes would have been atypical in terms of what Pound built, all the others were large houses aimed at the wealthy middle class of Victorian society seeking what was then suburban living.  Like Cameron Corbett a generation later, he probably realised that he needed a housed local workforce for his enterprises.  Oddly, unlike most of his firm’s housing output, away from Blackheath, which has been lost to 20th century redevelopment, these are homes that have stood the test of time.
He certainly built what was known as St Mildred’s Terrace (top below), a mixture of shops and homes extending from the southwards from the corner of Summerfield Street. As will be covered in a later post on his pubs, it is almost certain that he was responsible for building the Summerfield, assuming that is the case, the adjacent shops continue the pattern and would have been built by him too.
   
In the early 1870s he advertised regularly in The Times both for rented properties and bespoke houses.  Presumably he felt that he was so well known in the area that he didn’t even need to put his address (11).  The estate office, collecting the rent was at 7 Burnt Ash Hill, opposite what is now Holme Lacey Road.
His development continued apace further south after Grove Park Station opened in 1871 with Pound taking advantage of this in purchasing Grove Park Farm in 1873.  Pound also seems have moved the base for his building operations from Southbrook Road – presumably what is now Southbrook Mews to Grove Park.  He moved from there in 1878, perhaps the nearby brick field had come to the end of its life and he seems to have had a large sale before moving on – presumably to a base nearer Grove Park where most of his building work was then happening (12).

Pound was able to find a use for the brickfields after their primary purpose had ended.  The Parish paid him £30 a year for their use as a ‘mud shoot’ effectively as  dumping ground for mud, manure and the like from Lee’s roads (13). The land around Woodstock Court and Kimbolton Close may be particualry fertile as a result!

 Pound too moved to Grove Park by 1881, he was living at Saville House, Bromley Road (now Baring Road) – ‘a splendid house in two acres of land’ when the census enumerators called.  He was listed as Builder and Brickmaker employing 50 men.
John Pound was responsible for much of the late 19th century development of Grove Park, it was a ‘small selected estate of large villas for the middle class.’   While there are still a few Pound homes in Lee, little or any of his work survived the post-World War Two re-development in Grove Park, the only house from that era that seems to remain is one large, much altered villa in Somertrees Avenue.

 

Mentions of Pound from the early 1880 onwards seem fewer and further between, whether he had run into financial problems, ill health or there were fewer development opportunities isn’t clear. There were more mentions of selling land that he had bought to smaller developers such as in East Greenwich and Blackheath in 1881 (14) and on Furzefield and Hassendean Roads in Charlton (15) which were then known as the Dean’s Common Estate.

His elder daughter, Catherine, had married Austin Budden in 1875 he was a ‘gentleman’ according to the 1881 census and they lived in a large house in Higham in Kent – Gads Hill Place – which had been home to Charles Dickens.  Budden initially rented the house from Dicken’s son.  It seems that John Pound moved to Gads Hill Place around 1884 (16). Whether he continued to run the business from Higham or someone else ran it for him, isn’t clear but he certainly got into financial difficulties and was declared bankrupt in 1895 (17).  Pound died the following year at Gads Hill Pace

In the next post we will stay with John Pound and look at the pubs that he built in the area. 

Notes
1 Neil Rhind (1983) Blackheath Village and Environs Volume 2 p364
2 ibid
3 Neil Rhind (1976) Blackheath Village and Environs Volume 1 p35
4 Rhind, 1983, op cit p396
5 ibid pp364-5
6 Godfrey Edition Ordnance Survey Maps – Lee & Hither Green 1870
7 ibid
8 ibid
9 ibid
10 Kentish Independent 16 December 1871
11 The Times (London, England), Saturday,  Jan 08, 1870; pg. 14; Issue 2664
12 Kentish Mercury 05 October 1878
13 Kentish Independent 22 January 1887
14 Kentish Mercury 05 November 1881
15 Kentish Mercury 02 January 1885
16 Kentish Mercury 12 June 1896
17 Kentish Mercury 19 April 1895
Census and related information comes from Find My Past.