London’s Rare Views No.1 – Holly Lodge Estate

London

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As the city homogenises, we’re gradually losing the mysterious nooks and corners that made each London street so fascinating. Here’s one I lived near for years without ever exploring. I knew that one of the houses was lived in by the seventies singer Lynsey De Paul, but no-one ever seemed to stay very long in them. They’re tiny, listed, and apparently let in very little light. But now, of course, they’re insanely valued.

Still, it’s hard to believe they’re in the middle of London, so rural do they appear, but even the surrounding roads have changed little and are often used for filming (parts of the excellent ‘An Education’ were shot there). The Holly Village was erected by Baroness Burdett-Coutts, the benefactor of the East End poor who built Bethnal Green’s original Columbia Road. There are eight twee, overdecorated buildings clustered around a village green; they’re eccentric fun but unvisitable.

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10 comments on “London’s Rare Views No.1 – Holly Lodge Estate”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    They do look nice though.

  2. Keith Page says:

    They certainly do.However, Highgate is one of those places that look extremely attractive but have severe drawbacks.If you need serious everday shopping you have to travel quite a way.Buses are problematic in that area, the tube station is miles away, there’s no convenient surface line and if you use a car you can’t find anywhere to park when you get there.Does attract serious money, though.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    We’ve met Burdett-Coutts before and one can almost forgive her the plots and characters of her books because she seems to have been a genuine person who actually wanted to do something worthwhile. If it had been me I think I’d have refused permission for my name to go over that entrance gate, though.

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    Neither would I, Helen. But it would be better than: Pull Cord For Cash, Abandon Hope All Who Enter Here or the modern version Work Makes – You – Free.
    Homes located away from transportation opportunities is very American. It’s why there are so many automobiles in our driveways. as families age. The fewer cars and the more kids the more driving for one licensed individual. The miles run up by young families is astonishing.

  5. Vivienne says:

    I thought these dwellings were originally almshouses, so the inhabitants would have been old and not need to travel far. There would have been local shops or the milkman with his horse and cart. EvenI can remember them.

  6. jan says:

    i ‘m not sure if they were almshouses i shouldn’t think so because they are now in private ownership and almshouses have covenants that keep them as originally planned. At one point one of these houses put in for planning permission for an ultra modern part underground extension and THE FUSS THAT WENT UP ABOUT THAT! not just from the little estate either people up and down the surrounding roads played up. i dunno if it ever came to pass though i wouldn’t have thought so.

    i can’t remember exactly where but isn’t there what was originally a dairy with some lovely tiling not too far away from here now its some sort of fashionable cupcake bakery place i think …….or maybe this place was up toward Crouch End my minds going

  7. Vivienne says:

    Jan, do you mean Lloyd’s Dairies in Amwell Street, Clerkenwell area? I remember this when it seemed empty when I was walking around there trying to identify Arnold Bennett’s Riceyman Steps. The area is very precisely described and pretty recognisable.

  8. Keith Page says:

    The only ex-dairy I know in the area is, appropriately called The Old Dairy in Stroud Green Road [ now a pub].

  9. snowy says:

    I have heard that at one time some blocks functioned as a sort of secular nunnery. Young female office workers would reside there in small single rooms.

    Just a bedsitting room, no kitchen, toilet and bathroom shared with others on the same floor. Communal dining in a separate building on site.

  10. Helen Martin says:

    I’ve imagined a facility like that, Snowy, but especially for beginning nurses and teachers. Everything takes so long or so much mental effort when you’re new and what often suffers is housework – cooking, cleaning, and ironing. In the case of teachers there’s also the working out of lessons, which takes up every minute you can give it. A residence that provided those basics and included a teachers’ workroom would be a life saver.
    I’ll bet parents were relieved to know their daughter was living in a safe household while she was settling into her office job. (Not that that would prevent “goings-on”.)

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