Set in the heart of the historic Stockwell Park Conservation Area, just seconds from Slade Gardens Park, is this beautiful four-bedroom, semi-detached early-Victorian villa. Completely derelict when purchased, the current owners stripped away insensitive alterations made over the centuries and restored the over-2,000 sq ft house to its former glory. It now seamlessly blends in with the neighbouring Grade II-listed villas lining the leafy street. Having carefully introduced historically accurate, like-for-like repairs wherever possible, the owners have also carefully crafted the home for modern living, completely rewiring, re-plumbing and re-roofing it. A vaulted glass-roofed rear extension opens directly onto a paved stone patio, where steps lead up to a spacious garden complete with a gravelled area perfect for al fresco dining and entertaining.
Setting the Scene
Stockwell is one of the oldest and longest-established hamlets in the London Borough of Lambeth. It grew around the eponymous open space of Stockwell Green, which is still legible despite being built over in the late-19th century. The area was largely developed during the 18th and 19th centuries as wealthy merchants took advantage of available rural land to build stately villas away from the crowded city centre. These villas were laid out in a formal arrangement of straight roads and crescents set within pleasant, mature gardens, and are characterised by their distinct Neoclassical detailing. This more informal “Rus in Urbe” or countryside in the town development marked a significant transition away from more formal urban terraces typical of the Georgian period. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
A raised front door opens into a wide hallway, with a double reception room to one side. The front, a drawing room, is defined by the ornate original details such as the tall sash window and marble fireplace surround. Smart parquet floors are found underfoot, leading through to a study area on the other side of a set of internal double doors. With leafy green views over the garden, this room is a lovely tranquil space. This room is also complete with a handsome marble fireplace surround. There is a guest WC on this floor, lined with wallpaper by Cole & Son, ‘Procuratie e Scimmie’.
Steps lead from here to the ground floor, which is home to a sunny and contemporary open-plan kitchen, dining and living room, with glazed doors folding back to a patio beyond. The kitchen is clean-lined and minimalist, with white cupboards and black brick tile splashback. The living space is crowned by a glazed lantern, which floods the room with light. Space for a television has been brilliantly concealed in the wall behind two doors.
There is also a brilliant bedroom with en suite shower room on this floor, which could be used as another useful study.
The staircase, which features restored handrail and spindles, leads to the first floor. Home to the principal bedroom, the room is dual-aspect, and is bright and airy as a result. Wallpaper ‘Birdcage Walk’ by Nina Campbell lines the walls, and another pair of double doors open to a generous en suite bathroom beyond, complete with luxurious freestanding cast-iron bateau bah by La Rochelle. Two further double bedrooms are positioned on the top floor, which share a family bathroom.
The Great Outdoors
The house is set back from the road by a gravel driveway, with space to park a car, framed by wrought-iron railings. The front garden is filled with lavender and a variety of pink David Austin roses. There is wisteria trained across the front of the house, as well as jasmine, with its exceptional fragrance on July evenings. A door at the side of the house leads straight into the garden – an attractive space partly laid to lawn, bordered with flower beds which are filled with hydrangeas, honeysuckle and hibiscus. There is also a fig, olive and cherry tree. At the rear of the garden is another patio area, perfect for eating outdoors. Stone steps in turn lead back to the extension, where there is brilliant connection between the house and its garden.
Out and About
Situated between the busier hubs of Brixton, Clapham and Vauxhall, Stockwell is known as ‘Little Portugal’ for its large and diverse Portuguese-speaking community. The area has several good pubs, including local favourite The Canton Arms; a short distance to the south is The Landor, with its large garden. Brixton, a lively area known for its excellent food and bar scene, is within easy reach; Brixton Village, Market Row and Acre Lane are all highly recommended destinations. The Ritzy Cinema and Electric Brixton are much-loved institutions. There are also regular farmers’ markets in Brixton and Oval.
The Stockwell Park Residents’ Association is very active, and holds events throughout the year. Slade Gardens, off Stockwell Park Road, is a two-minute walk from the house, with its children’s play area, adventure playground and One O’Clock Club. The beautiful Myatts Fields Park is a 15-minute stroll towards Camberwell, and for more expansive walks, the open fields of Burgess Park and Battersea Park are a 30-minute walk east and west, respectively. There are tennis courts, a café and a lake at Burgess Park. The beautiful Battersea Park has an extensive frontage and riverside promenade to the Thames, where wide, tree-lined avenues meander around a large boating lake and through open-lawned areas. It is adjacent to the newly opened Battersea Power Station development, home to an excellent array of high-end shops, restaurants and a cinema.
There is an excellent selection of schools in the area. State primary schools include the Ofsted Outstanding-rated Herbert Morrison on Hartington Road, Wyvil on Wyvil Road, Reay on Hackford Road, Ashmole on Ashmole Street and Henry Fawcett on Bowling Green Street. The neighbourhood comprehensive Platanos College (co-ed, ages 11 to 16) on Clapham Road is Ofsted as Outstanding-rated, as are the nearby Lilian Baylis (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) on Kennington Lane, Oasis Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 16) on Westminster Bridge Road, Sacred Heart RC (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) on Camberwell New Road and Notre Dame RC (girls, ages 11 to 16) on St George’s Road in Kennington. Independent schools, mostly to the west and south, include Eaton House, Parkgate School, Emmanuel School, Thomas’s and L’école de Wix Lycée Français, Alleyns, JAGS and Dulwich College.
For transport connections, Stockwell Underground station is approximately four minutes’ walk for Victoria and Northern Line services to Oxford Circus, London Bridge, Waterloo and Kings Cross. Clapham North and Clapham High Street stations are less than a 20-minute walk away, with further access to the Northern Line and Overground services.
Council Tax Band: G
The settlement of Stockwell developed around the open village green during the Middle Ages, with the wider area remaining rural and agricultural. The village was relatively isolated between two historic Roman roads which formed principal routes to and from the city of London, until it was deemed a manorial estate in the 13th century. A now-demolished, large moated manor house was built on the north side of the green at the centre of the settlement, with a well on the other side. The manor was demolished in 1756 and its site is recognised by the modern street name Moat Place. Stockwell settlement also included market gardens and John Tradescant’s botanical garden, built over in 1880 and commemorated in the nearby Tradescant Road.
By the late 18th-century, improved infrastructure and the introduction of the Thames Bridges allowed gradual expansion into South London. Following the original roads, areas such as Vauxhall and Stockwell were gradually taken up by wealthy merchants fleeing the city in search of clean air and a semi-rural character, but still with easy access to their interests in the capitol. This began Stockwell’s transformation from rural hamlet to urban suburb.
The opening of Vauxhall Bridge in 1816 and the introduction of the railways in 1860 saw the area widely developed; in 1838, William Cox of Kennington began developing the area as a high-class estate, transforming it into a middle-class suburb with many stately villas. Later, several public, philanthropic institutions arrived, including an orphanage and college. By 1871, ordnance survey maps show the area of Stockwell Green surrounded by expanding roads of terraced housing and villas, supported by the opening of Stockwell Underground station in 1890.
Unique for its remaining architecture of significant importance, the Regency homes of Stockwell Green and the Stockwell Congregational Church are a fascinating example of a period of change in London’s history. Today, Stockwell reflects its diverse and varied history through its diverse townscape, many conservation areas and fine listed buildings such as St Michael’s Church and Stockwell Bus Garage.
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