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


Co-operation and self build

South east London also has two types of development that fall outside these economic and financial structures. The first is an estate built by a co-operative society and the second self-builders. The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society built the Abbey Wood (or Bostall Estate) of 400 homes between 1900 and 1905. Homes were let or sold on reasonable terms and the venture was assisted by raw materials, notably chalk, from the own chalk mine nearby. The Woolwich Arsenalís role as the nationís armaments factory and the prosperity this brought the town gave the RACS the financial security to undertake the venture, while the heavily unionised workforce and support for the emerging Labour Party provided the ethos.

Self-builders were active in the Blackfen area of Sidcup and in Biggin Hill in the 1920s and 1930s. They were energetic, pioneering, hardy, free thinkers.