last revised: October 22, 2011 9:52 AM
These houses and blocks of flats are typical of the different kinds which have been built near the present school site since the 1860s. There were houses here before but none seem to survive. The text which accompanies the photographs contains far too much material for some classes but is designed so that teachers can use it as they think fit. This is not a curriculum, but a resource.
Large Victorian houses in Cazenove Road.
These huge houses were built when Cazenove Road was first opened. Cazenove Road was to be the main entrance to the area from each direction. It was is wide and designed to impress. Roads leading off it are narrower, filled with smaller houses, but the big ones in Cazenove Road are massive. Notice how the horizontal string courses in white stucco and red brick are used to break up the huge brick surfaces and make the houses more interesting to look at. They make the houses more human in size.
The slate roofs have a low slope. This was the slope of all early Victorian roofs. There are houses with steep roofs, built after about 1880, in Grazebrook Road, Summerhouse Road and other parts of Stoke Newington. These are in the Victorian Gothic style and their roofs are completely different.
These houses have had modern Velux windows let into the roof to bring some light into the roof space.
Segmental lintels above windows and the door in Victorian houses in Cazenove Road.
The brick lintels have been covered in thick stucco with artificial keystone moulded in stucco.
The eaves of the house, with pairs of supporting brackets and a string course below in lighter coloured bricks. In this house an attic with a curved eyebrow roof has been added to give extra space. When the trees were small it would have given an unrivalled view over London. What a wonderful site for a telescope.
The houses are built of local bricks, probably made in the brickfields on either side of Stoke Newington High Street and shown on the 1868 map. The lighter coloured string course must contain some Chalk and would have been made in the Thames Estuary where London Clay and Chalk can both be found. These were mixed together and made London Stock bricks.
The two blocks in the picture have been laid out differently. One pair has both front doors in Cazenove Road, while the other has one door in Cazenove Road and one in Alkham Road. The builder was squeezing in as many houses as he could on his site. This meant of course that the corner houses have very small gardens.
The left hand-pair have a row of tall chimneys along the party wall between the two houses. Count the chimney pots and work out where the fireplaces must have been in the two houses. Very often houses were built in pairs and each house was the mirror image of the other. This was because of the chimneys. You might like to draw what you think are the ground floor plans of the houses. Today paired houses are not quite so common. Why? How do you think the houses are heated today? Can you find any evidence for your ideas?
Big houses like this were built to take one family, usually with several children, perhaps an unmarried sister or brother, or a grandparent, living with the family. There would be at least one servant living in, working and sleeping in the basement.
The 1868 map shows a road marked out, so the ground landlord was planning to persuade builders to build on his land. The 1894 map shows Cazenove Road built but not on the line sketched in on the 1868 map. What sort of people could have afforded one of these houses when they were first built? The Census returns for 1871 or 1881 or 1891could show when the houses were built and who lived in them.
Because these houses are more than 100 years old, the census sheets have been opened to the public, so we can lean a great deal about the people who first lived here. The census sheets for other local houses, built less than a hundred years old, are still secret.
More on the Census.
These census sheets will tell us where everyone came from. One could look at a number of houses and make a scatter map showing where everyone had been born and also trace the names back through earlier census sheets to see where they had all been living ten and twenty years earlier. Their occupations will tell the sort of people who could afford to live in such large houses and how big their families were. John Summerson’s splendid book, London Building World 1860 – 1880 may explain why they moved to the suburbs at that particular time.
Another of the original Cazenove Road houses.
A Victorian villa with a three sided bay, plain barge boards and a triangular gable.
The bay has its own roof and is not covered by the gable. This is a very common design in the 1860-80s.
A slate roof with zinc flashings built over a three-cornered bay.
Below the gutters is a cavetto moulding. This curved shape can be traced back to Egyptian architecture, where the cavetto was suggested by the way palm leaves bend over in a curve. You can see the same cavetto shape at the entrance gateway to Abney Park Cemetery, which was built in the Egyptian style.
A three sided bay with a three-sided slate roof above and zinc flashings.
Below the gutters is a cavetto moulding. This shape can be traced back to Egyptian architecture, where the cavetto shape was suggested by the way palm leaves bend over in a curve. You can see the same cavetto shape at the entrance gateway to Abney Park Cemetery.
A crow-step gable
This crow-step gable has been repaired at some time with different coloured bricks, no red corners and new concrete slabs. The original slabs would probably have been in cut Sandstone.
The original bricks are in London Clay, possibly from brickfields along Stoke Newington High Street. The repair bricks are different. They are old London Stock bricks and contain about 17% of Chalk. They must have come from some demolished house. Perhaps it was bombed and then the bricks were used to repair this other damage with whatever bricks the builder could find. The clue is that there are some black bricks showing among the London Stocks. These are the same London Stock bricks, yellow as the rest, but these faces are black because they come from inside an old chimney. A century or more of coal fires has filled one face with soot.
Two Edwardian Houses in red brick c.1900
Look at these two houses in the light of what has just been said about the plot shape. The house on the left is single-fronted, with one bay. The one on the right is double-fronted, with one bay and one flat- front. Each house has a three-sided bay and attics in the roof. The double-fronted one has a three-sided roof above the bay, while the single-fronted one has a flat roof. Both houses have semi-elliptical arches over the front doors.
I think that the builder wanted to build a terrace of houses, but his site was slightly too short to take the last one. There was not space for a final front door. He could have made all his houses slightly narrower. Other developers might have decided to do this but he decided to make a larger house at the end. He would make them all look slightly bigger by adding a large one at the end. Then, to make the house even bigger, he bent the end gable to fit his boundary line.
Some Advanced Research
Some adult, or perhaps and ‘A’ Level student, might like to solve once and for all the question about this gable end. Why is it bent? There is no apparent reason why the builder should cut the corner off his gable. He must have shaped his house to fit his site. It looks as if he made his house as large as possible by extending it right up to his boundary. The South Villa site, in Albion Road, tells a similar story. Here, the end house of the five built in 1893 on the site of South Villa follows the mediaeval field line. Someone might like to find the Drainage Records at Hackney Archive and tell the story properly. In the meantime, we can be pretty sure that this house tells a similar story to the South Villa site. However, a piece of research at the Archive could settle it.
The Attic windows are let into the roof with a catslide roof in red clay tiles. Most catslides cover a single-storey back addition to a house, so this is an unusual use of the design.
A catslide roof. This is a house with a single-storey back addition
with the roof in one continuous catslide.
Simple barge boards on the end of a brick gable wall
A modern ironwork railing, made by an engineer, not a blacksmith.
Making this piece of railing was quite complicated. The upright rods and the horizontals were rolled when red hot. The hot metal was rolled between heavy steel rollers and squeezed out in rods. Each time it ran between the rollers the rod became smaller.
Each of the uprights with the twisted bird baskets was made of five separate pieces of metal. The twisted bars and the iron baskets were twisted when the separate pieces of metal were red hot. Then the short lengths of square bars, the baskets and the twisted centre bars, were joined together to make one length. This was done by oxy-acetylene welding. All these pieces were made of rolled iron
The top finials are in cast iron, not rolled iron like the rest. Cast iron is made by pouring molten iron into sand moulds. Then the whole length of railing, with straight bars, basket bars, top and bottom bars and finials, was welded together by oxyacetylene welding. You can see that the bars are joined by oxyacetylene because the welding leaves a curved fillet of iron round the bottom of the uprights like a curve of glue, but the ‘glue’ is made of solid iron.
A terrace of Victorian Villas built in perhaps 1860-70
The central one is in its original condition, with a three-storey, two-storey bay. The bay has its own separate slate roof.
The detail of the painted stucco window lintels.
The flat lintels are supported on brick columns and the whole has been covered with carefully moulded stucco. The capitals are moulded in curved leaf shapes. These ‘foliate’ capitals were introduced by John Ruskin about 1860 and are a good indication of when the house was built.
The Pair of Front Doors
++Get a better picture in late afternoon including the glass panels
The doorways have been heavily moulded on stucco, with the same capitals and segmental door arches with large moulded keystones. These keystones do not carry any weight of course. Underneath the stucco is a simple brick arch and the stucco is decoration. Above the doors is a sheet of lead tucked into the brickwork and wrapped round the edges of the moulding to throw off the rain.
The right hand door is an original, with panels of coloured glass. There would have been a glass transom window above the door to let more light into the hall, but it has been blanked out. All the houses would
have had decorative glass panels when they were first built, but the left hand door has been replaced with a modern one in block-board.
One house has had a room with a wide glass window added in the Attic. You may like to look at others and note the variety as you walk round the area.
This wall tells us a lot about the construction and the date when it was built.
There are two types of brick, one yellow and one purple/black. Neither sort was not made from local London Clay like the large brown/grey Victorian houses which were builf first in Cazenove Road. Those brickfields were closed years ago nad they are now covered with houses. You can see them on the 1868 map. These yellow bricks contain Chalk and must have been baked a long way away from Stoke Newington. The black ones contain a very dense sort of clay, also from outside Stoke Newington.
The black bricks form the foundations of the building and they are called engineering bricks. Water from the ground below would soak up the yellow bricks and make everything damp, so the foundations are built in black engineering bricks. These bricks resist water and they stop water from soaking upwards into the yellow bricks. They keep the building dry.
All the bricks are laid as stretchers. This means that the outer skin of the wall is only one brick thick.
When the price of oil and other fuels rocketed in the 1970s, the cost of heating houses suddenly doubled. The government altered the Building Regulations. All new buildings had to be built so as to save and retain heat. Double walls with a layer of air between them, has always been known to hold heat well. It is difficult for heat to pass across a cavity of still air, so it helps to conserve heat. The Cavity Wall became compulsory and in addition, the inner skin had to be made of Thermal Concrete. This concrete mix is particularly good at holding heat as It is full of tiny air cavities. These holes make it difficult for heat to pass across them and therefore they help to keep the heat inside a building from escaping through the wall. The design will save the school a great deal of money in heating costs over the years. It also tells us that the School was built after about 1970.
Drawings of a cavity wall
A semi-detached house built between the First and Second World Wars.
This house is typical of the houses being built all round London in the nineteen thirties. By this time people were starting to have cars and a garage is built into the house. Before this time very few people had cars. There might perhaps have been one in a street, so garages were separate buildings built near the house, or in a mews behind. Garages built into the house were a completely new idea.
The house has a two-storey bay made up of five separate panels of glass. This made the rooms larger and gives a 180 degree view of the street. One could also see who was knocking at the door and people liked this as they did not have to open the door to strangers. Above the bay is a projecting gable. It has plain bargeboards without any shaping and flat uprights nailed to the wall. They are pretending to be thick Elizabethan timbers but they are really just thin boards. Elizabethan timbers would have been at least 10 cms square and were part of the structure of the building. When new they would have been painted black, with white pebble-dash between, so that they looked more like a wooden house with wattle and daub between the uprights. Today everything has been painted white so that the ‘timbers’ seem to disappear.
The front door and side windows are framed with a semicircular arch. This was a favourite feature in the house of this time. No Elizabethan house evr had a window like this.
The windows are casements hinged at the side. They open outwards as Elizabethan windows did. The sliding sashes, where the window panes move up and down, had not been invented in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, so these opening casements do fit in with her period. The architect has used all kinds of earlier styles, but the built in garage was completely new.
This building is in yellow brick with string lines and surrounds to the windows, in red brick. The building is four storeys high but the entrance is only three storeys high. The lower floors are two rooms wide and the third is only one room thick. This difference has been shaped by the architect to form a Dutch Gable. The entrance is in the centre of the Dutch end, with a tall Roman arch as a window. Round oculus (eye-shaped) windows light the end or the building. One is open, pivoting on its diameter. The building is a very clean, unusual design, rather severe but attractive.
A block of 1930s flats.
This block of flats is typical of the period after about 1930. The windows are a curious mixture of styles. Sunshine Houses had just been designed and Crittals, the famous steel window manufacturers, were making the curved window frames with curved glass to give the characteristic ‘sunshine’ bays. These windows have copied the idea, but with narrow, flat panes, instead of the curved ones.
A Sunshine House. 74-78 Tetherdown, built by A.J. Hooper.
From The Growth of Muswell Hill, by Jack Whitehead, 1955.
The top floors of the flats are not in brick but are behind tiles, as if in a Mansard roof. This gives a ‘top’ to the house, but above it is a flat roof. The chimneys stand high above the roofs. This was a most important safety measure. Long lengths of chimney above the fires are always necessary if the chimneys are to draw well. If the chimneys are too short, they cannot draw the hot air up the chimney properly. Then the fumes and the dangerous carbon-monoxide stay in the room and can kill the people. Before flat roofs became common, the tall chimneys above the top room fires were hidden behind the sloping roofs, so we do not notice how tall they have to be. Tall chimneys rising above a flat roof are always a sign that the flats were built to burn coal. Modern flats using gas boilers, have ‘balanced flues’ which stick out of the wall and do not need tall chimneys. Of course electric fires do not need any flues at all.
|Colour Key References||
This map and other smaller
sections reproduced elsewhere,
|Black -Total destruction|
|Purple - Damaged beyond repair|
|Dark Red - Doubtful if repairable|
|Light Red - Seriously damaged, but repairable at cost|
|Orange - General blast damage, not structural|
|Yellow - Blast damage, minor in nature|
|O||V1 flying bomb||large circle|
|o||V2 long range rocket.||small circle|
There will be slight variations in the colours because the original maps
are old and the colour balance on computer monitors will vary
There was great bomb damage south of Cazenove Road and Mandela House was bult on one part of it.
This five-storey bock stands beside much older buildings which happily survived the bombing. The contrast is immense. This is a huge block of flats whereas the houses which used to stand on the site were Victorian villas like those still to be seen at the southern end of Osbaldston Road. Perhaps someone has a photograph of the houses which used to be here, or of the bombsite.
Mandela House showing its immense length.
The great length was necessary because there were so many people needing houses. The five storey height was dictated by the way the flats were heated. They were heated by coal and people cannot be expected to carry coal up more than five flights of stairs. Above that they would have needed lifts. How are the flats heated today? Pupils living there will know.
Fountayne Road Health Centre
This is a very modern building, built within perhaps the last twenty years (Find Date). Instead of a description, here are some questions for you to puzzle about.
These are not all the types of building near the school. More could be added if you were interested.