This superior four-bedroom house with garden is located on the sought-after Cator Estate in Blackheath. It was built in 1965-67, and is one of the larger housing types (the ‘T2AX’) designed by Eric Lyons for the progressive development company Span.
The house is presented in immaculate condition, having been refurbished by the current owner. It forms part of a private, well-maintained group of 19 houses called Parkend, located at the eastern end of the Cator Estate. The Cator is an exclusive gated area with a diverse mix of architectural styles, including some of the finest Regency houses in southeast London.
Eric Lyons’ Span developments are all about space and light, and blurring the edges between outside and indoor space. He paid great attention to the surrounding landscape, designing houses around existing splendid mature trees and creating communal areas that encourage residents to mix. Span estates remain perennially popular with architects and designers in particular.
This house has approximately 972 sq ft (90.3 sq m) of internal accommodation. It is approached through a private front courtyard with a lockable gate. The ground floor contains an open-plan reception room / dining room, a modern fitted kitchen, a study (or fourth bedroom) and a newly installed wet room/steam room with separate WC. The first floor contains three further bedrooms and a bathroom, and there is extensive storage space on the landing. Blinds are fitted to all windows, and are included in the sale. The house is heated by a modern gas combi boiler. There is a private garden at the rear, which has been redesigned by the current owners with decked seating areas, a pond, a pergola (under construction) and a shed.
The house is sold with a separate garage (newly roofed in 2009), and visitor parking is available. Parkend residents contribute a service charge (currently approximately £1,200 per year), which covers weekly visits by gardeners to all communal areas, monthly window cleaning to all properties, tri-annual painting, and general maintenance including tree surgery. There is an annual summer barbecue for all Parkend residents.
The house is located close to the popular Brooklands Primary School. Links to central London are provided from Blackheath mainline railway station, which is one stop from the Docklands Light Railway, with easy access to both Canary Wharf and the City. Trains from Blackheath run to London Bridge in approximately 10 minutes, to Canon Street in around 15 minutes, to Charing Cross in approximately 20 minutes, and Victoria in around 25 minutes. There are also good bus links from Blackheath Village. The river bus links Greenwich with central London.
The house is a pleasant 10-minute walk from the open spaces of Blackheath, which in turn leads to Greenwich Park, Greenwich and the River Thames. Blackheath Village and Greenwich contain a number of good shops, restaurants, pubs and delis, and larger shopping centres can be found at Bluewater and Canary Wharf. There are theatres in both Blackheath Village and Greenwich.
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
The development company Span built 30 housing estates between 1948 and 1984. In his book The Spirit of Span Housing, James Strike says: “Span housing was the inspiration of two young men, who, during the 1930s, met as architectural students at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Eric Lons and Geoffrey Townsend both had a keen interest in modern architecture[…] They believed that there was a market for well-designed houses in carefully designed landscapes for the sort of people who recognised good design when they saw it – and they were right.”
Span housing was the subject of an exhibition a few years ago at the RIBA, and the accompanying book, entitled Eric Lyons & Span (ed Barbara Simms), gives a comprehensive survey of its history. “The work of the architect Eric Lyons,” it states, “is as well-loved now as it was vibrantly successful when first constructed. Built almost entirely for Span Developments, its mission was to provide an affordable environment ‘that gave people a lift’.”
Outlining the background to the Span Estate at Blackheath, it says: “Span’s attention had turned to the Cator Estate in Blackheath, a charming preserve of late 18th-century and early 19th-century terraces and villas[…] The area’s history was stoutly defended by the Blackheath Society, founded in 1937, and Blackheath Park – the core of the Cator Estate – was becoming admired for its ‘Regency character’. But many of the houses had been damaged beyond repair, and the long gardens and backland nurseries of Blackheath Park and the roads immediately to its north and south were ripe for speculative development.”
The book continues: “Today, the area takes its distinctive character from the combination of Regency and Span developments, and the mature landscaping of both. That Span estates were not diluted in their execution was due to Lyons’s sheer determination to defy the planners, termed by him ‘aesthetic controllers’, and restrictive building regulations[…] He won around 20 housing medals from the MHLG [Ministry of Housing and Local Government], three in 1964 alone.” Eric Lyons developed an extensive range of different housing ‘types’ over the years. The 19 houses at Parkend are all Type T2AX, which developed from the T2 and is distinguishable by its long ground-floor plan that provides an extra bedroom or study.
Graham Morrison of Allies & Morrison Architects, who bought a Span house in Blackheath in the early 1980s, describes the joy of living on the Cator Estate: “I find it hard to imagine a more pleasant and safe place, so close to the city, in which to bring up young children. A shared garden made the making of friends easy and a sensible management structure helped to ensure the maintenance of not only the buildings and gardens but also the aims of the community.”