Great Brownings II
College Road, London SE21


Architect: Austin Vernon & Partners

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“The centrepiece of the house is a striking open-tread staircase that cuts laterally across a double-height hall space."

Representing one of the finest examples of mid-century architecture on the Dulwich Estate, this wonderful four-bedroom detached house forms part of Great Brownings, a beautifully landscaped estate designed in 1966 by Malcolm Pringle of Austin Vernon and Partners.

Importantly, the house retains many of Pringle’s original details whilst being adapted for a modern lifestyle by the current owners. The centrepiece of the house is a striking open-tread staircase that cuts laterally across a double-height hall space.

The kitchen / dining room deviates a little from the original plan, combing the two spaces having removed a partition wall. The kitchen itself has a rich-toned walnut worktop, matched with a stainless-steel area around the sink and wood veneer cabinet fronts. The kitchen was built by a local joiner to an excellent standard.

The bright reception space is across the wide hall. The L-shape allows for the large room to be loosely divided for versatility. From here there is access to the sunny West-facing patio and garden. Also on the ground floor is a WC and cloakroom.

The upper floor is arranged around the central galleried landing. There are four good-sized bedrooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom. As is often the case with homes of this era, there is plenty of integrated storage throughout.

The house comes with a garage en-block, otherwise there is unrestricted parking for residents throughout Great Brownings.

Developed in response to the steep sloping topography of the ancient Great North Wood, the houses of Great Brownings are arranged across tiered levels, providing wonderful views of the city to the north and the privacy and seclusion of the woodland to the south.

The Great Brownings houses are renowned for their Scandinavian aesthetic, clean lines, large windows and hardwood floorboards. Properties on the estate range from two-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom detached family houses. The houses enjoy use of mature communal gardens, an idyllic setting for kids and residents’ get-togethers.

An area well known for its exceptional Modern architecture, the Dulwich Estate is composed of approximately 1,500 acres in South East London and includes numerous private roads that are managed by the Estate. It is noted for its concentration of outstanding 1950s and 60s design, much of it by Austin Vernon & Partners. Ranging from large detached houses with large gardens to rows of smaller terraced houses, the mix of properties as well as the exceptional landscaping and planting make for an appealing and unique place to live.

The property is surrounded by Dulwich and Sydenham Woods, which are a wildlife nature reserve. This is combined with Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Course as well as an allotment and sports club grounds to provide an unbroken green space as far as Dulwich Park and Lordship Lane. Other local attractions include The Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Horniman Museum and the local town centres of Crystal Palace and Dulwich Village.

Dulwich Village is within walking distance from the house, and the street is well placed for OFSTED ‘outstanding’ primary and secondary state schools as well as some of the best private schools in London.

Great Brownings is a short walk via footpath to Sydenham Hill station, which runs services to London Victoria (13 minutes), Blackfriars (20 minutes) and City Thameslink/Farringdon (22 minutes). Connecting trains (via Sydenham) will take you to Canada Water in 20 minutes and Shoreditch High Street in 30 minutes.

Service charge: approx. £205 payable quarterly to the Dulwich Estate.

Read our recent interview: Open House: Lucy Ryder Richardson on life at Great Brownings, a 1960s housing estate of Scandinavian-style houses near Dulwich

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.


Great Brownings is situated in part of a large area of land in South East London that has been maintained for over 400 years by the Dulwich Estate. In the 1950s the estate ran into difficulty. The area had been badly damaged during the Second World War, and lease lengths were running so short that banks were no longer happy to lend on the houses and selling was becoming more and more difficult. People were leaving the area and renting their houses out.

In 1954, Austin Vernon & Partners were called on to design a scheme that would rejuvenate the Dulwich Estate. Vernon himself had formerly been a pupil at Dulwich College from 1898 -1901 and so knew the area well, whilst his uncle Frederick Austin Vernon (1882-1972) had already been the surveyor and architect to the Dulwich Estate.

By 1957 Vernon’s first scheme of building was completed. The houses on Great Brownings followed a little later in 1966, forming part of a series of naturalistic schemes designed to integrate with the steep sloping sites in Dulwich Woods include Peckarmans Wood. The Great Brownings houses are all timber framed because the steep slope prevented easy access for normal heavy building materials. Over the next 20 years more than 2,000 new homes were designed by Austin Vernon & Partners resulting in a remarkable area of 1950s and 60s-era architecture.

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