Architect: Royston Summers
This exemplary modernist house forms part of the award-winning North Several, designed by acclaimed architect Royston Summers in the late 1960s. North Several is located in a spectacular position next to the open green expanse of Blackheath.
North Several is a small group of seven houses in two terraces, built to the highest of standards for a collective of private individuals, including the architect himself. The design, orientation and the landscaping of North Several allows the house to sit perfectly in its heath-side environment.
Set among communal gardens, the houses are of a distinctive glass, concrete and brick construction, described by Pevsner as “a prominent sight from the heath with a strong vertical rhythm of narrowly set mullions”. Featuring large open-plan spaces and wonderful views, the houses caused considerable excitement when they were built, winning a design award from the then Minister of Housing and Local Government, and they continue to garner praise to this day.
Arranged over three storeys, and with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the heath, Canary Wharf and Greenwich Park, this particular house sits at the end of the main terrace and was originally owned by the noted playwright and novelist Michael Frayn. It has been thoughtfully renovated without compromising the architect’s original design aesthetic.
The dual-aspect main living space is positioned on the first floor, maximising the light and views across the heath and beyond. The L-shaped room accommodates a large seating area with an open fire, a reading area with built-in desk unit, and a dining area with access to a balcony that looks over the verdant communal gardens. The kitchen is separated from the main room and maintains the original mottled-glass breakfast bar, which Summers designed to match the glass surround of the balcony, and has wonderful mosaic tiles arranged in an engaging colour pattern over a Quartz-stone counter top.
The top floor has two double-sized bedrooms and the main bathroom, all of which open onto the landing via full-height doors that are a feature throughout the house. The master bedroom spans the width of the house and has direct views of the heath. One half of the room is a dressing area, equipped with a built-in dressing table and original vintage wardrobes constructed in the same rich-toned birch ply as the panelled walls. The bedroom at the front similarly spans the width of the house and is currently configured as a study and sitting room / snug.
The house has two entrances from the communal garden; the main entrance into the spacious lobby area featuring the house’s beautiful maple staircase, and the other directly into a tranquil garden room which looks out onto a statue by Gerda Rubinstein called “Party Girl”. The entrance lobby connects to the second bathroom and integrated garage with utility area.
Exposed brickwork and concrete lintels are visible in the central stairwell and on the ground floor, paired with original earthy-toned quarry tiles. Throughout the house the continuation of internal and external materials blurs the line between inside and outside.
There is off-street parking for two cars discreetly positioned in front of the house so as not to obstruct the views of the heath.
North Several is superbly located on the south-west side of Blackheath, at the edge of Blackheath Villlage. Blackheath is one of London’s most popular and attractive residential areas and has a great selection of shops, restaurants and pubs. Greenwich Park, part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site, is a short stroll across the heath, which itself is part of the protected World Heritage Buffer Zone. The World Heritage site extends through Greenwich Park and down to the River Thames, an area rich in history and outstanding beauty.
Blackheath station runs direct services to London Bridge, Cannon Street, Victoria, Charing Cross and Waterloo East (with journey times of approximately 15-25 minutes). A DLR service to Canary Wharf and Bank, taking approximately 15 minutes and 27 minutes respectively, runs from nearby Lewisham.
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.
Royston Summers (1931-2012) was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School. After serving in the Intelligence Corps in Germany, he went to Downing College, Cambridge, where he read English and then Classics. He then trained at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He was an architect for Cornwall County Council, and was involved in the New County Hall in Truro. The new library in Saltash was his first solo job. In 1964, he set up his own practice in Blackheath, London, and won a Ministry of Housing and Local Government medal for energy-efficient houses for a group of families using passive solar heating. His low-density estate in Surrey won the RIBA Architecture Award in 1976 and the DofE diploma for Good Design in 1980. He designed (unbuilt) 52-storey tower blocks for Brixton, and the first solar-heated council flats in Lewisham, which, in 1982, won a CIBS commendation for energy use.
Key Residential Projects
Terraced housing in London