The house is a late Victorian end of terrace house. When built it was the last house in the development and edged a cricket green. As it was the last house it had to fit in to an irregular parcel of land; not quite big enough for two houses but too big for one house. So it was designed slightly differently to the others in the road and rather than the standard Victorian terrace layout with a lounge to the front, dining room behind and a narrow kitchen at the rear. Our house has two bay windows to the front and a wider return to the back, it also has no front door! However we have since discovered this wasn’t always the case and is a result of it’s slightly more shady past. Sadly, like much of London the cricket green was built over and our house now sits in the middle of the street, however we aren’t to far from the park.
We are luck that lots of our neighbours have lived in the area for years and some of them have told us great stories about our house – my favourite being about a taxi driver and his daughter who used to live in our house and would regularly sit out in the street with their pet snake wrapped around their necks.
As far as we know the house was occupied as normal until the late 1960’s when the local council compulsory purchased it. From what we have ascertained they planned to demolish the house to allow them to widen the road as they planned to build a new motorway that would have headed straight past end of our road. Thankfully the motorway never got off the drawing board and the council rented the house as part of an end of life housing co-operative. During this period the house had an entrance portico to the end of it, however at some point this was removed, why? We do not know, but that is how the house ended up with no front door.
In more recent years the council leased the house to a housing association who used it to house people on the council housing wait list, this lead to it being rented as individual rooms, for anything from a few nights to years in the case of one tenant which our neighbours told us about.
We can only assume that needing the money the council decided to end the lease agreement and sell the house, which was how we came to own a slightly odd house, in a normal looking London suburb, which needed a lot of work!