08 December 2012

New view of north London

New to me, in my discovery of paths across Hampstead Heath - this (distant!) view of the slope of Highgate Rise. The green dome just to right of centre is "Holy Joe's" - St Joseph's church (on the main road up the hill), and the big Tudorbethan building below it is part of Holly Lodge Estate, beyond which is Highgate Cemetery. I wondered about the history of Holly Lodge, and this post gives me a reason to investigate it.
Spacious living; image from here
The housing was built by London Garden Suburbs company after 1923, but before that Angela Burdett, grand-daughter of banker Thomas Cootes, used Holly Lodge as her "rural retreat" from 1849 till her death in 1906. Rural, because it was four miles (6km) from the city at that time [still is].
Accommodation for single women; image from here
The land to the east of the new central road was instead acquired by the Lady Workers' Homes Limited to build blocks of rooms for single women moving to London to work as secretaries and clerks in the city. The mansion blocks were designed as bed-sitting rooms, sometimes with bedroom or kitchen alcoves, and offered an acceptable way for single women to live near to London on their own. Only three flats in the whole of Makepeace Mansions and Holly Lodge Mansions had their own bathroom, but new regulations have seen a change in this situation since 2005, with the original 269 rooms and 408 flats becoming self-contained accommodation. The policy of placing only women into this accommoation has lapsed.

As the bedsitting rooms and flats in the mansion blocks were built without kitchens a block was built nearby to serve as a centre for the community and included a restaurant, reading and meeting rooms, and a small theatre. In the 1950s it fell into disrepair and was subsequently demolished.
The gardens of Holly Villa remain; image from here

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