This one-bedroom apartment sits within an elegant Victorian residence in the heart of the Brockley Conservation Area. A bright and airy feel is created through the use of a light colour scheme and thanks to wide sash windows that overlook a quiet, leafy street. A spacious garden is planted with climbing shrubs such as jasmine and honeysuckle, with further living space provided by a generous shed that can serve as a workshop. Brockley offers a lovely combination of a thriving neighbourhood as well as rapid transport links to central London.
Setting the Scene
Before residential development in the 19th century, Brockley was renowned for its fertile soil and market gardens, the quality of the area’s rhubarb and strawberries being of particular note. In the late 1800s, the establishment of the North Kent Railway and its new station at St Johns drew a number of wealthy industrialists to the area. These new residents prompted the development of Brockley’s characteristic tree-lined avenues laid out with elegant townhouses, of which Upper Brockley Road, completed by 1868, is one example.
Leafy streets, nature reserves, and public gardens provide the area with an abundance of green space. This apartment is in the Brockley Conservation Area, noted for the mostly Victorian buildings ’various architectural styles, good-quality Italianate stucco and gothic terracotta detailing. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
A pathway through a garden planted with Bergenia cordifolia and lavender lead to the private entrance of the apartment, which is located on the lower-ground floor. The Farrow & Ball Stone Blue painted front door, adorned with a conifer cone knocker, opens to a generous hallway. Here, original timber floors run underfoot, and walls are painted in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Peignoir’. Leading from the hallway is the living room, which has light-toned walls painted in Farrow and Ball ‘Blackened’ and timber floors.
The high ceilings and generous Victorian proportions of the room make it a perfect space for entertaining, and the current owners have arranged a spacious sitting area as well as a dining table. There is a cast-iron fully working fireplace, and alcoves on either side are fitted with built-in shelves, while a picture rail in keeping with the room’s original features runs around the room. Two large sash windows look over the front garden.
Extending to the rear of the apartment is the kitchen, painted in Farrow and Ball ‘Wevet’ fitted with white cabinetry, a four-ring gas hob and a double sink. There is ample space for a breakfast table, and a door opens to the apartment’s private garden to create a wonderful connection with the jasmine and honeysuckle climbing the pergola just outside.
Leading from the hallway behind an original timber door, and positioned in the middle of the plan, is the bedroom. An original 12-pane sash window is still fitted with white-painted timber shutters, and the original shutter bar still sits in the corner of the room. The walls in this room are painted in ‘White Tie’ by Farrow & Ball, which sits in contrast with the original cast-iron fireplace and hearth. The bathroom, finished with tiles in natural tones, has a wet-room shower and a generous bath, with the room equipped with underfloor heating. A large storage room with space for bicycles and a handy WC painted in a deep green shade lead from the hallway.
The Great Outdoors
The communal front garden is planted with a selection of perennials with mature cherry blossoms and sycamore trees, providing shade and privacy from the road. The apartment’s private garden is accessed via the kitchen and features a generous timber deck with plenty of space for a dining table and chairs, creating an extra dining room in the warmer months. The bifurcated patio is covered by a pergola with climbing jasmine and honeysuckle, with the patio surrounded by herbs and flowers.
A gate leads to a garden where there are demised patches for each apartment in the building, as well as a communal area. The apartment’s footprint also includes a private space at the back of the communal garden, where there is a there is also an additional shed that is perfect for use as a workshop or as a greenhouse. The communal garden features a vegetable patch for each apartment, where the current owners grow courgettes, carrots and artichokes.
Out and About
Upper Brockley Road is a short walk from the coveted cafes, restaurants and bars that sit astride the train station, including the reputable Browns of Brockley coffee shop, Joyce natural wine bar, L’Oculto for tapas and Good as Gold. Brockley has the feel of a self-sufficient town with all the associated amenities available.
Hilly Fields is fifteen minutes’ walk away. With expansive green spaces, elevated views across the capital, as well as a café, playground, nature reserve, tennis courts and basketball courts, it is arguably one of the finest parks in South London. Brockley & Ladywell Cemetery is also within easy reach, spanning 37 acres of beautiful green space protected within the Brockley conservation area.
There is a renowned farmers’ market every Saturday at Brockley Market, offering a wide range of organic produce alongside food trucks and wine merchants. Nearby Deptford, recently voted one of the world’s coolest high streets, has plentiful shops, restaurants and cafes.
Deptford Market Yard, a recently launched collection of independent shops and restaurants set within and around Deptford’s refurbished railway arches, is nearby. Goldsmiths University is within walking distance and will soon open the doors to its new gallery designed by Turner-prize-winning architects Assemble.
The apartment is within easy walking distance of three stations. St Johns station is just over 10 minutes on foot and runs direct services to London Bridge (for the Jubilee and Northern lines) and Cannon Street (for the Circle and District Lines). Also a 10-minute walk is Brockley Station, where London Overground services run to Canada Water (for the Jubilee Line), Shoreditch, and Whitechapel. Brockley station also runs direct services to London Bridge in around ten minutes via Southern Rail. Lewisham, approximately a 25-minute walk away, operates the DLR for connections to Canary Wharf, Bank and National Rail services.
Tenure: Share of Freehold
Underlying Lease Length: approx. 961 years remaining
Service Charge: approx. £840/annum
Ground Rent: n/a
Council Tax Band: C
In the early 18th century, Brockley was a rural settlement around a lane which led from the Deptford Royal Naval Dockyard to Brockley Green. At the time, the area was largely agricultural, with farms, nurseries, orchards and market gardens serving London. As such, there are still many old fruit trees in the gardens here and the rich soil nourishes new varieties in a similar vein. As the area remains wonderfully green, it is a haven for the wildlife of London and it is believed the Brockley Badger lives on in certain enclaves, namely the New Cross Gate Cutting, a 10-acre wildlife reserve a short walk from Wickham Road. Indeed, the name Brockley is a derivation of ‘Broca’s woodland clearing’, ‘Broca’ being Old English for badger.
Between 1844 – 1885, the land was developed by two great landowners – the Wickham-Drake Estate and the Tyrwhitt-Drake Estate. The Wickham, Tyrwhitt and Drake families had become intertwined through marriage, and most of the road names in the area mark the family associations.
The northern part of Brockley, including Upper Brockley Road, was owned by the Tyrwhitt-Drakes, who built terraces of classical houses for the professional classes in the 1850s. Characterised by wide streets and large Italianate villas, the houses are backed by free-access mews service lanes, once used by workers, as well as horses and carriages. More salacious rumoured encounters in the mews include Edward VII, who is believed to have used Wickham Mews for discreet visits to mistress, the actress Lillie Langtry.
This development is typical of the considered development of urban sprawl undertaken by landowners, and the houses on Upper Brockley Road are handsome, with fine views from their elevated position.
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