TQ 1771 PARKLEYS, HAM COMMON
22/23/10048 1-16 Coleridge Court
Block of sixteen flats. 1954-6 by Eric Lyons for Bargood Estates Ltd, subsequently Span Developments Ltd; Geoffrey Paulson Townsend developer, G Scoble project architect, Wates builders. Brick end and partition walls, concrete, tile hanging and 'Eternit' blocks. Flat felted roofs. Brick stacks. 'H'-plan block of three storeys with four flats per floor with centre entrance and large stairwell, two-storey projection to left of entrance front of four flats with central entrance and stairs. Three-storey block has entrance front with centre of four fully glazed bays, set in metal panes, apart from open entrance to right side. The ground floor is masked by a covered timber walkway which carries the name of the block. Concrete lattice ventilation panels in sides. Rear centre facade a tripartite composition of concrete lattice ventilation panels. Flank walls with continuous horizontal glazing in timber frames. Four-bay side elevations have the principal rooms, denoted on the first and second floors by each group of three bays having to right two deeper windows with window box, divided at sill level and one in each pair by top opening; the ground floor an alternating composition of three windows, one with French doors, the next two with sill rail. Tile hanging between each storey. Impressive open stairwell. Two-storey wing of five bays, divided by exposed ends of brick crosswalls. Both facades with full width windows of three square panes per bay, some with top opening casements, the storeys divided by tile hanging. Central entrance has large plate glass windows divided at sill level to front, with original lettering and numbering on this band, and to rear, entrance-way to ground floor, vertical staircase window of two panes to first floor; louvres to both storeys. Other bays in mirrored composition around centre: front elevation has two deeper windows in inner bays, divided at sill level and with window boxes, outermost windows blind; rear has innermost windows blind, then tripartite composition with central top-opening casement, blind window in centre of end bays. Entrance hall to Nos. 1-4 with open well staircase with red/brown terrazzo stairs and steel balustrade with timber panels to first flight and landing. Entrance hall to Nos. 5-16 with terrazzo floors and steel balustrades. Interiors of flats originally with timber floors but have not been inspected. In front, a line of the distinctive posts that are part of the planning of Parkleys. Eric Lyons and Geoffrey Townsend met in the late 1930s and renewed their partnership after wartime service. They developed a number of select private developments in the south-west London and north Surrey borders, until in 1954 Townsend set himself up as a developer and was forced to give up his RIBA membership. This is their first mature work, and their first as Span Developments Ltd. It is on the site of a nursery, and the blocks of flats were carefully laid out so that existing trees were kept, and the nursery stock and its gardener were taken over as part of the development. It is laid out as a series of cul-de-sacs, with the taller blocks as distinctive 'points' in this grid of lower development. The combination of two and three-storey blocks is distinctive to Parkleys, while that of brick and tile hanging was repeated in subsequent Span works, particularly at Blackheath. The three-storey blocks at Parkleys, with their open concrete panels, were Lyons's most convincing excursion into the 'contemporary' style. Parkleys was developed for first-time buyers, and Span was one of the first companies to promote the endowment mortgage. It is also one of the first examples of the system of residents' management companies set up by Span which has kept most of their developments in such exceptional condition. Each leaseholder contributes to the funding of paid maintenance staff, and is a member of the management company that runs the estate. Eric Lyons was admired for 'bridging the gap' between speculative work and the creativity most architects of his generation only found in the public sector. 'Twenty years ago he would have been regarded as barely respectable, today he is important. He may even come to be looked back upon as a key figure' (Architectural Review, February 1959). The opportunity to work in such a close partnership with a sympathetic development enabled Lyons to pursue his own ideas in materials, layout and design. Yet the blocks had to be simple, for 'the architect has to design and organise so that buildings can be produced at the same cost as a builder's scheme providing the same accommodation', as Townsend told the Architects' Journal (20 January 1955, p.72).
Listing NGR: TQ1789971705