Petts Wood: The making of a 1920s garden suburb

by Peter Waymark

Two Estates

Stretching either side of the railway line from London to Sevenoaks, the 400 acres comprised two estates.

The Town Court Estate is mentioned in medieval records and was for 200 years in the ownership of the Walsingham family. By the 1920s it was partly farmed, a mixture of dairy and arable, but mainly an area of woodland, lakes and strawberry fields.

The smaller, 120-acre Ladywood Estate to the east of the railway had at its centre Ladywood House, built in the 1870s in a French chateau style. Like Town Court, the Ladywood Estate was partly farmed but mostly woodland.

Although only 14 miles from central London, the land acquired by Scruby for development was still essentially what it had been for centuries, peaceful and unspoilt countryside enjoyed by people wanting to escape the smoke and noise of the capital.