Painstakingly restored to its former glory is this handsome Victorian villa in Woolwich. Originally built as a home of a military officer, the interiors were designed with entertaining in mind. Voluminous rooms unfold over some 3,050 sq ft over three floors, including four bedrooms, multiple reception rooms and a large cellar. Pretty landscaped gardens sit at the front and rear, alongside a private gated driveway and garage. Herbert Road is a short walk to Woolwich Common and the Elizabeth Line, with direct access to Canary Wharf and the City.
We’ve written about life here in more depth.
Setting the Scene
A key location in London’s naval, military and shipping history, Woolwich became a settlement in the Roman era due to its proximity to the River Thames. The growth of London suburbs in the 19th century, alongside the introduction of the steam train and larger rail network, brought an influx of newcomers to the area. Developments like Herbert Road were common during this time, with expansive villas and stock London townhouses being built to whet the appetites of London’s expanding population. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
A flight of broad sandstone steps leads to an original glazed porch with gothic arching and a pillar-box red front door. The entrance hall is a riot of Victoriana, with gothic revival tracery leading up a grand staircase and Minton tiles underfoot. The hall has been finished in neutral tones and leads to the main reception spaces. There is also a useful guest WC adjacent the stairs.
Overlooking the private rear garden is the large reception room, once the billiards room. The space is double-height with a sloping, vaulted ceiling. There is an ornate French marble fireplace, two large sash windows with original pocket shutters, and a decorative plaster frieze around the room.
At the front of the house is a dining room with a triple-bay window overlooking the quiet residential road. The space has been finished in a ‘Brinjal’ purple by Farrow and Ball, adding an air of grandeur. Adjacent is a large study with built-in shelving, a pared-back plaster cornice, and an exceptional chinoiserie lacquered door.
To the rear of the plan is a voluminous kitchen with stripped wooden flooring. The room has been finished in an earthy palette of greens, with painted wooden cabinetry and walls by Little Greene. Worktops are topped in hardy Italian granite, and there is a kitchen island, oven alcove, and a butler’s sink overlooking the garden with a skylight above. There is plenty of space for a dining table and chairs.
Ascending to the first floor, the primary bedroom suite sits above the main drawing room with an elevated position atop the house. With an expanse of floor-to-ceiling glazing, the room was possibly once an artist’s studio or map room but now is home to the main bedroom and en suite bathroom. Finished in a calming palette of purples, both rooms have original fireplaces with glazed tile inserts.
Three further three large bedrooms all have wonderful volumes. Two additional bathrooms are on this floor, alongside a host of storage and linen cupboards.
The Great Outdoors
To the rear of the house is the garden, which feels like a private oasis with privacy created by a high wall. The space has been divided into a patio area for entertaining and a green lawn with surrounding raised beds. A short driveway to the rear leads to a private garage and an elevated front garden with mature beds and established trees.
Out and About
Herbert Road is moments from the rolling grassland of Woolwich Common, a centuries-old park and parade ground that has recently become a wildlife haven. The Academy area and Shooter’s Hill is awash with beautiful architecture and eateries such as City View Restaurant. Further along Shooter’s Hill Road is the Charlton Lido – an Olympic size heated swimming pool.
The centre of Woolwich Arsenal is a short bus ride away, offering a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs. Local highlights include The Guard House, SALT, Boulangerie Jade, and local culture hub Woolwich Works which puts on exhibitions and live music alongside its café. There is a popular farmers’ market at the Royal Arsenal every second Saturday.
The ancient deciduous forest Oxleas Woods is also nearby, with an 18th-century folly and a café at the top of the hill with spectacular views across London.
Woolwich Arsenal DLR is a 20-minute walk and runs services into Bank and mainline services into London Bridge in 20 minutes. The newly opened Elizabeth Line connects to Canary Wharf in eight minutes, Liverpool Street in 15 minutes, and Farringdon in 17 minutes.
Council Tax Band: F
The Anglo-Saxon name ‘Woolwich’ alludes to a trading settlement used for wool, which most likely came from sheep raised on the marshes of Plumstead. Proximity to the River Thames ensured settlements since the Iron Age could trade along the river and establish a buoyant trading port.
In 1512, Henry VIII chose Woolwich as the dock for his flagship Henry Grace a Dieu ship, the greatest warship of her day, establishing royal patronage in the area. A rope-making facility soon followed, as did ammunition manufacturers. The Royal Arsenal at Woolwich would quickly become the largest munitions producer in England, and the institution transformed the area into a prosperous town.
By the mid-19th century, trade was spilling over into the neighbouring parishes of Plumstead and Charlton. With the introduction of the railway lines, the area prospered.
Today Woolwich is a vibrant community with expansive development along the historic waterfront and fast access to central London with the newly established Elizabeth Line.
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