Friday, 25 March 2016

One hundred years of one house on Well Hall Road, part 4, a bit of idle speculation on what might have been

Gas fitting 1911
This is the continuing story of one house in Well Hall Road and of the people who lived there including our family.*

Last year was the birthday of the house which we lived in for thirty years.

We moved into 294 Well Hall Road in March 1964 and while us kids slowly moved out over the years it remained my dad’s home till 1994.

Now I pretty much took the place for granted and only recently began to wonder on what t would have been like when it was brand new back in 1915.

Sadly none of the original features had survived by the time we arrived in the house most of the records of the Estate were destroyed in the last war.

All of which led me recently to ponder on what might have been and also to make an appeal for anyone who could supply me with pictures of fireplaces, light fittings and anything else that might still be in their house on the Estate.

And Chrissie has been the first to come forward with a picture of a fireplace similar to one she remembered in her house.

It is not unlike the bedroom fireplaces in our house which date to just five years after the Progress was built and I guess were pretty standard.

According to one history “all the timber and supplied Baths, fireplaces and many other fittings were kept in a large store on the site.”**

Bedroom fireplace, 1915
And this would have included the light fittings which I thought may have been gas.

Ours had long ago disappeared but upstairs there were still the circular wooden blocks in one of the bedroom.

I suspect they were not unlike the one above which was fitted in a house built just four years before 294.

That said I know already I will have fallen into a trap and featured a type of gas fitting which was not used in the south east.  It will be one of those errors that someone will pick up on and quote the exact specification and date.

To which all I can do is invite both the correction and ask for a picture.

But they did have gas lighting which has been confirmed by Chrissie who told me, “we even still have the old gas light pipe up stairs in the bedrooms, where it had been cut off which made a good hook.”

Now in the great sweep of history this is very small beer, but it helps recreate something of that lost house and takes me closer to what it would have been like when the key was handed over to its first resident, just 49 years before we crossed the doorstep.

Picture; of the gas fitting courtesy of Lawrence Beedle and the fire place from Chrissie Rose

*One 100 years of one house in Well Hall,

** Well Hall Estate, Eltham, S.L.G. Beaufoy, The Town Planning Review Vol. 23, No , July 1952, Liverpool University Press

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