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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Lease-lend Cottage, final chapter: Four new houses in the space of one

The building of the spuriously named Wardell Mews seems almost complete. Last week a massive crane on wheels sat outside and lifted massive blocks of concrete out of the building site, over my roof, and into waiting trucks.

Smart young men with clipboards are going in and out of the new houses; garage doors have been fitted and lights are going on and off in the many rooms in well-randomised sequences. Estate agents boards are up.

It's the end of the story of Lease Lend Cottage, the strange old house built out of bomb-site rubble in 1946 on a plot of land - also a bomb site -  hidden behind these blocks of flats.
US Press photo from 1946 shows Lease Lend Cottage, Clapham,

I've written too much about this already but I was prompted to finish the story when I rediscovered this picture of the original. This is US Press photo from 1948, and must have been taken from one of the flats or staircases in the Macaulay Court mansion block.

This photo was up for sale on ebay. But to me it seemed to good to me to be hidden, and important part of  the history of the crazy suburb.

When I first found this photo on the internet, last year, it also showed the writing on the back of the print, as follows:

 "Housing solution - This house in the London suburb of Clapham was built of 20,000 second hand bricks salvaged from bombed sites all over London. Faced by a shortage of new materials, Charles Hancock, a master builder, constructed it - and at a cost of only $425." The house is recently been subject to a planning application which would have to its demolition."

The big ugly terrace behind is where I live now ( on the top floor above the washing!).
Not really a mews - but maybe the name sounds better than Lease Lend Cottages
And, to illustrate the great speed and wonders of human progress, here are the new houses.

As I noted before, these are now on the market for  £1.8 million or so, and upwards, ever upwards.

I wonder if the people living down there will invite us in for tea and a tour of the gardens?

Or will try to sell me an old Citroen?

Or will hold small hours jam sessions with African drums and Hendrix-style guitar solos?

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