This exemplary three-bedroom Grade II-listed Span house forms part of an award-winning scheme designed by Eric Lyons in 1963. The interior has been completely re-imagined to an exacting standard under the guidance of architect Ian Hill, promoting the best of the original features.

Approached across a landscaped communal courtyard, the house is entered up a small flight of steps to the raised ground floor. The immaculate open-plan living space is full of light, with fully-restored original windows at both the front and back. The Alpes Inox kitchen is simple and elegant, with a mixture of reclaimed Iroko and stainless-steel worktops. The parquet floor has been beautifully restored.

An open-tread teak staircase leads to the first floor, which has three bedrooms and a family bathroom. The partition walls have been cleverly reconfigured to make space for wardrobes in the bedrooms at the front of the house. Clerestory windows maximise the flow of light between the rooms.

The house also comes with a private garage which is set beneath the house and accessed from a road at the rear.

As with most of Lyons’s Span developments, the houses on South Row have been designed to maximise the qualities of light and space and to enhance the relationship between the buildings and the surrounding landscape. Span took care to design and build houses around existing mature trees, supplemented with new planting and creating communal areas that encourage residents to mix.

South Row is situated on the southern side of the heath, in Blackheath, one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London. Blackheath Village is a short walk away, with an excellent selection of shops, independent restaurants and bars. Blackheath Station, in the heart of the village, runs services to London Bridge in 15 minutes, and to Lewisham for connections to the DLR in three minutes.

Tenure: Share of Freehold (of the whole estate, including the house); then each resident has an independent lease.
Lease length: each resident has an independent lease of approx 945 years (999 years from March 1962)

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.


History

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 Lyons 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.”

In the case of South Row, Lyons made an application for a three-storey block of 23 flats, incorporating an innovative corner plan with ten maisonettes set over garages in a range to the rear. The scheme was opposed by the LCC’s Historic Buildings Sub-Committee and eventually rejected by the Town Planning Committee in 1959. However, in 1963 a general policy for Blackheath Park sought to keep new housing behind existing building lines, and the South Row scheme was approved for it’s ‘architectural vitality’. Despite the initial resistance to the design, South Row won Lyons a MHLG Housing Design Award when finally completed in 1963.

 

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