Two typical Collins porch designs

 

The First Layout of the Estate

It is interesting to consider how Collins organised the development of his estate. Clearly the complete layout was planned from the start, because a well-drawn plan of the whole estate, dated November 1898 47, shows all the roads and houses in position. It is far too large to be reproduced here so a description will have to suffice. This plan shows the same estate shape as we have seen on page 114 and in the street plan opposite. Streets and house plots are all marked out with terraces of houses drawn in detail and tinted. They are not necessarily the exact houses which were finally built. In Firs Avenue, for example, several houses with fine semicircular bays are shown, but no such houses are to be found in any of today's streets. The drawing shows that the whole estate was planned from the start. The houses would be built over the years as demand allowed and finance permitted, but this plan was a confident statement of intent. This was a very different way of working from the Harwell Park layout discussed earlier, which would depend on any number of unknown builders arriving from who knows where, each with his own tiny bag of capital.

On the plan is a long written statement giving details of the layout and quality of the houses such as:

'Back fences to be in oak 4ft high and fronts of iron. Roads 40 ft wide with trees planted in the pavements. All cellars to have a double damp-proof course and be rendered outside with a vertical asphalt damp course.'

On April 7 1899 Collins agreed to all the changes which the Council had made to the plan and he was ready to start. By examining the dates of individual drawings, approval dates by the local planning authority (Hornsey Urban District Council) and local directories, the order of building the estate emerges. Some dates may be slightly inaccurate, but the order is correct. The map giving the dates of different houses shows how long it all took.

 

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RIBA Drawings Collection

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