From country to suburb: The why and the how of suburban development. A universal phenomenon with examples from south-east London.


Freeholders and Builders in the 20th century

Developments in the 20th century followed a similar pattern, but differed in that the builder generally aimed to sell the newly-built houses rather than lease them. As well as requiring a demand for homes, this process also required financial structures and interest rates that allowed individuals access to mortgages. Often, developers also provided the mortgage as well. Cameron Corbett operated in this way in Catford and Eltham in the years before World War I (and his strict teetotal views prevented the building of one essential service, the local pub, on any of his estates). Rather later, one of the biggest and most successful players in this process was New Ideal Homesteads, which operated in Bexley and Bromley in the 1920s and 1930s. They pitched their product just the right side of what would make them the return they expected, but which was affordable to a new segment of the market that had never owned their homes before: the skilled workers or clerks of inner south London.