Category Archives: House History

Whose house is this? A capital FAMILY MANSION, 1854

Springwell and Northside, Clapham Common

In theory there is a lot of time to write when you’re on maternity leave but I’m an archival historian and… well… babies and archives just don’t mix. So it was a blessing when Thomas Walker at Historic Newspapers sent … Continue reading

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The houses of Crystal Palace Park – new pamphlet for charity

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The lovely Melvyn Harrison and people at the Crystal Palace Foundation have long kept a watchful eye over the heritage and development of Crystal Palace Park. Recently they asked if they could reproduce my London Journal research article on the … Continue reading

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‘What to do with the Crystal Palace?’

What better time to appreciate second chances than at the the beginning of a new year. The Crystal Palace [a name of fairy tale splendour, if ever I heard one] sparkled as the stage for Britain’s Great Exhibition of 1851 but … Continue reading

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House tales: The brothers Letts

  Following on from my earlier post ‘A brief history of park villa estates’, I’ve been devoting a number of blog posts to a park villa I previously had the pleasure of living in on the Crystal Palace Park Estate. … Continue reading

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House tales: The widower of Whitethorns

9 Crystal Palace Park Road, Sydenham Do you ever wonder who lived in your property before you did? Who were the original residents? What was the story of the inhabitants of your house? I did and found a northern merchant … Continue reading

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An enquiry into the state of girls’ fashionable schools (1845)

“One might be tempted to believe that the end most schoolmistresses propose themselves in teaching is to get themselves handsome houses, furnish sumptuous drawing-rooms, keep livery servants.” Anon, ‘An enquiry into the state of girls’ fashionable schools’, Fraser’s Magazine (1845) … Continue reading

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Brief history of park villa estates

I left South London a few years ago to work ‘up north’ and now live in Southport (near Liverpool), which has a seriously delicious Victorian housing stock. The other thing Merseyside has in common with my previous haunt is substantial … Continue reading

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Rediscovering Victorian park villas

Copyright: Royal Horticultural Society Victorian villas, despite the cost of renovation and upkeep, remain popular today. Just as at the time of their construction, householders are driven by the desire to reside in properties that are comfortably spacious, solid, elegant … Continue reading

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The beginnings of an obsession

Several years back, before children and a lectureship at Lancaster University beckoned, I bought a flat in London on Crystal Palace Park Road. It was a neo-gothic, red brick villa and its garden backed onto Crystal Palace Park (of dinosaur … Continue reading

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Whitechapel’s Angel Alley: prostitutes and property

Large scale migration to nineteenth-century cities created a pressing need for suitable lodgings and by 1871, some 1,401 lodging houses were listed in the London Post Office Directory. HoweverVictorian London’s lodging houses varied considerably in size and character.Distinguished guests crossed … Continue reading

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