Danson: A private development of the 1930s

Architecture and plans

Some of the better houses on the new estate were those erected by Jeffrey William Ellingham along Danson Road, Bean Road and the Grove in what had been Lot 9. The houses were detached, with brick exterior and mixed brick-and-concrete interior walls. Those on the north side of Bean Road and the Grove and on the east side of Danson Road were given a living room, parlour and kitchen. A hall and stairs led to three bedrooms on the first floor. The front of each house had two sets of bay windows. One stood under a prominent gable, beneath which lay the living room and second bedroom. The parlour and principal bedroom lay behind the second set of windows, which were set back some 8ft (2.4m). This design gave the house an attractive L-shape. The parlour and principal bedroom were 12ft wide and 13ft deep (3.6m by 3.9m), while the living room and second bedroom were marginally smaller.

The houses on the south side of the Grove were square-shaped. They had the same number of rooms (with similar dimensions) as the other houses and the total floor space was approximately the same. However, the bow windows faced the rear garden. The plain front of each house was distinguished only by porch with a tiled roof.

Most of the houses on the Danson Estate were more modest than those in the Grove. In Lot 2 the semi-detached houses of Thomas Henry Jones were laid out in an elegant circle formed by the two halves of Selwyn Crescent, through which passed Danson Crescent. Each had a living room, parlour, kitchen and three bedrooms, but the largest of these was 13ft by 11ft 7in (3.9m by 3.5m). The bathroom and water closet were combined. There was more concrete and less brick. A porch and bay window under a common roof gave some character to the pebble-dashed exterior.

Ronald Cyril Hammett followed a similar design to Jones. His houses in Lancelot Road each had a living room and principal bedroom 11ft 6in (3.5m) broad and deep, a sitting room and second bedroom only slightly smaller, two small bedrooms, 7ft long and 7ft 6in or 6ft 6in wide (2.1m by 2.3m or 1.9m), a small kitchen, hall and bathroom on the ground floor. The front door lay at the side of the house. The ground floor extended slightly into the back garden, giving the two houses a half H pattern. A glass roof ran between the two wings over the living room window, creating a patio area.

Hammett also built semi-detached bungalows. Those in Lancelot Road all had a drawing room, living room, hall, bathroom and two bedrooms. A kitchenette was added on the side at the insistence of the council. The rooms were quite spacious. The living room was 20 ft long and 9ft 6in wide (6.1m by 2.9m), while the drawing room was 11ft 3in broad and 12ft deep (3.4m by 3.6m). Concrete foundations supported a steel framework surmounted by a web of beams, rafters, plates and struts supporting a pyramidal roof. With a bay window at the front and a gable at the back, the bungalows had an attractive cottagelike appearance.

Frederick Roland Absalom, who had bought Lot 18, sold semi-detached houses along Hook Lane with a sitting room, kitchen, hall, two bedrooms and a bathroom for £425 apiece. The sitting rooms were 13ft by 10ft 8 in (3.9m by 3.27m), while the kitchens were 13ft by 8ft (3.9m by 2.4m). The bedrooms had approximately the same dimensions. They were not spacious compared with other houses on the estate, but then they were marketed with the former occupants of inner-city terraces in mind. Even so Absalom did not neglect to mention the space available for a garage.

Between 1934 and 1935 Martin and Company erected four modernist villas in Danson Road. Each house had plain white-stuccoed brick walls and large picture windows. The simplicity of this design was mitigated by a balcony on the first floor of three of the villas and a water cistern and stairway opening on to the lower tier of the flat asphalt roof. Located directly opposite Danson Lake, they commanded excellent views of the Park. All the houses were slightly different. The first villa had a lounge 17ft 9¾in [nine and three-quarter inches] by 11ft 9½in [nine and a half inches] at the front (5.4m by 3.6m), a dining room 13ft 9¾in [nine and three-quarters inches] by 11ft 9½in [nine and a half inches] at the rear (4.2m by 3.6m), a spacious kitchen, hall and a water closet on the ground floor. There were four bedrooms, a bathroom, but no balcony on the first floor. The largest bedroom was 14ft long and 11ft 9½in [nine and a half inches] across (4.3m by 3.6m).

The second villa resembled the first except for the addition of a balcony. The third villa had a garage and porch under the balcony. As a consequence, the house itself was slightly larger. The dining room at the front measured 14ft 3in by 12ft (4.3m by 3.6m), the lounge at the rear 13ft 10½in [10 and a half inches] by 16ft (4.2m by 4.9m). Upstairs there were four bedrooms, a bathroom and toilet. The smallest bedroom led onto the balcony. The fourth villa was very similar to the third except that the configuration of the bedrooms was slightly different and a larger balcony was entered from the upstairs corridor. The first two villas were designed by a London architect, D.C. Wadhwa. However, for the subsequent plans Martins turned to Frederick Jones, who was based in Sidcup.

Most of the developers did not employ an architect, preferring to draw up the plans themselves. TH Jones used the services of Arthur Kent and Company, while Stevens employed a local architect, Allan Hargreaves.