Brixton
The Angell estate

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English Heritage

Publication

Author

F. H. W. Sheppard (General Editor)

Year published

1956

Supporting documents

Pages

125-131

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'Brixton: The Angell estate', Survey of London: volume 26: Lambeth: Southern area (1956), pp. 125-131. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=49771 Date accessed: 23 November 2014.


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THE ANGELL ESTATE

The Angell family has owned land in Lambeth since the latter part of the 17th century. An estate at Crowhurst in Surrey, which had been purchased earlier in the century by William Angell, formed the nucleus of the family's property. (ref. 146) One of William Angell's grandsons, Justinian Angell, Married Elizabeth Scaldwell, (ref. 147) daughter of John Scaldwell, junior, who owned extensive lands in Lambeth, including Heathrow Manor, freehold and copyhold in Lambeth Manor and leasehold land in Stockwell Manor. By his will, (ref. 148) which was proved in 1679, John Scald well left almost all his wife for life, and upon her death they were to be divided between his two grandsons. Thomas Fox and John Angell. It seems likely that some family arrangement was made after Scaldwell's death in 1679, for part of the property which he left to Thomas Fox came into the hands of John Angell. (ref. 149)

Thomas Fox inherited a copyhold estate in Lambeth Manor called Masticks and half of fourteen acres (see above) and the farm of Heath-row, in which his grandfather lived (see page 136). A piece of freehold land on the south side of Coldharbour Lane marked on the Inclosure map of 1810 as being held by William Brown Angell, and which was still part of the Angell estate in 1916, (ref. 150) may originally have been part of Heathrow Farm.

In Lambeth Manor John Scaldwell's other grandson, John Angell, inherited three acres of freehold land called Water Leys or Burdin Bushes (ref. 151) and a copyhold estate consisting of a farm called Mallams, (ref. 152) later called Stiles Farm, (ref. 153) containing about fifty acres, the other half of the fourteen acres, (ref. 154) and three acres called Pound Close; (ref. 155) all this property lay on the east side of Brixton Road. On the west side of Brixton Road he inherited ten acres. (ref. 154) He also held two leasehold estates in Stockwell Manor. (ref. 156)

John Angell died in 1750. (ref. 157) Eight years later his copyhold estate in Lambeth was seized by the Lord of the Manor because his heir had failed to claim it. (ref. 158) In fact it had been settled by John Angell on his son William in 1733, (ref. 159) but William had pre-deceased his father. (ref. 157) In 1764 William's brother, John Angell, junior, was admitted to the estate by special grace and favour of the Lord of the Manor, (ref. 160) though no doubt he had enjoyed possession of the lands in the meantime. The eccentricities of this John Angell achieved considerable notoriety. Samuel Denne published his will in full and commented that he was “marked by the legislature for a person inflexibly obstinate” and had“by a self-drawn will, perpetuated the name of Angell in Westminister-Hall and in the records of assise for the counties in which he had possessed estates”. (ref. 161) Moreover, “The propensity of Mr. Angell to litigations at law, and his disposition to perpetuate them after his decease, appear from the clauses of his will that enjoin large sums of money to be reserved out of his estates, and appropriated to that use”, and from “his random devise of his estates to the heirs male (if any there be) of his remote ancestors”. (ref. 162)

As was to be expected several law suits began after the death of John Angell, junior, in 1784, (ref. 162) and again the copyhold estate was seized by the Lord. (ref. 163) In 1786 Benedict John Angell Brown was admitted to the estate, (ref. 153) but in 1790 an entry in the court rolls proclaimed that this admittance was a mistake and that by the custom of the Manor, William Brown, Benedict's brother, was the rightful heir, being the youngest son of Benedict Brown, who had been John Angell's heir. (ref. 164) Both William and Benedict adopted the name of Angell (which had been stipulated by John Angell in his will) (ref. 165) and were subsequently known as William Brown Angell and Benedict John Angell Angell.


Figure 38.: Abridged pedigree of the Angell, Scaldwell and Brown families. The names in italics are mentioned in the text

At the beginning of the 19th century the copyhold estate was reduced by two sales. In 1803 the ten acres on the west side of Brixton Road and the three acres called Pound Close on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Effra Road were sold to Thomas Woodroffe Smith, (ref. 166) and in 1805 seven acres, consisting of half the fourteen acres on the east side of Brixton Road, were sold to Robert Slade (ref. 137) (see page 125). The rest of the copyhold estate was surrendered by William Brown Angell to his brother Benedict in 1823 in exchange for an annuity. (ref. 167)

Stiles Farm had been let by John Angell, junior, to William Westcombe in 1776 for 61 years; (ref. 168) in 1810 the area was still undeveloped and included a gravel pit and tenter ground. (ref. 169) Benedict John Angell Angell's title to Stiles Farm was challenged in 1827 in Lambeth Manor court by Thomas Angell as the youngest lineal descendant of Justinian Angell's younger brother Thomas. (ref. 170) As Justinian had never had a title to the property except in right of his wife, the claim was based on a false premise; even so, the court took a year to decide the issue, but finally awarded judgement to Benedict. (ref. 171)

Extensive development on this estate did not take place till the middle of the 19th century, but a few earlier houses still stand.

Nos. 285, 287 and 299–313 (Odd) Brixton Road

Nos. 285 and 287, formerly Effra Lodge and Westbourne Cottage; Nos. 309–313, formerly Nos. 1–3 (consec.) Brixton Ville

In 1631 three acres of land, lying on the east side of Brixton Road and called Water Leys or Burdin Bushes, were purchased by Edmond Dent. (ref. 172) The land passed into the hands of John Scaldwell in 1675 (ref. 173) and after his death became part of the Angell estate. (ref. 151) William Westcombe, who had a lease of Stiles Farm which adjoined it on the north, east and south, apparently purchased Water Leys from the Angell family. Unfortunately no records relating to the building of the houses on this estate have survived.

Nos. 285 and 287 are shown on the Inclosure map of 1810, and probably date from about this time. They form a pair of single-storey stuccofronted cottages which have slate roofs with deep overhanging eaves. There is a trace of Gothic influence in the pointed heads of their windows.

No. 299 Brixton Road can be traced back in the rate books beyond the date when the architectural evidence suggests it was erected. As the house was occupied from 1815 to 1830 by Evan Roberts, (ref. 174) a slate-merchant who erected several houses in Brixton, it may have been rebuilt by Roberts on the site of an older house. It is a rather uninteresting stucco-fronted villa of two storeys, with an attic in a slated mansard roof. Attached to the north side is a taller three-storey wing and on the south side is a former coachhouse. The middle part is three windows wide with a central entrance, and the upper and lower windows are set in round-headed recesses, the upper tier being underlined by a continuous sillband. The middle part and the north wing are finished with a cornice and blocking course.

Nos. 301–307 appear to have been erected between 1816 and 1830. (ref. 174) No. 301, a compact stock brick villa of two-storeys with a semibasement, is three windows wide with its entrance at the centre. The entrance has a flat wooden doorcase, with key-ornamented pilasters supporting a plain frieze and cornice. No. 303, of the same height and materials, has its entrance in a later side wing protected by a small valanced tentroofed porch. This is supported on ornamental cast-iron standards. No. 305, another villa of the same height and materials, has an uninteresting central porch borne on square piers. The canted two-storey bay extension on the south side is a later addition. No. 307 has been altered almost beyond recognition.

Nos. 309–313 appear to have been erected in 1801–2, though No. 311 was unoccupied until 1810. (ref. 174) They (Plate 51a, fig. 39) are set at an oblique angle to Brixton Road and have a slightly curved front. They may form the southern section of a crescent-shaped layout which was not completed. They are a stock brick group, with a semi-basement, two storeys and a mansard attic. The middle house, No. 311, is set for ward slightly and elaborated on the ground storey, so that the other houses have the appearance of being wings. It has an entrance set in a grooved frame with wing lights at each side. Foliated blocks at the head of the frame support a delicately festooned cornice, with vases over the heads, and a mutule transom. The doorway, and the similarly detailed window of three lights to its north, are set in elliptical-headed recesses which spring from anthemion-ornamented impost blocks and have keystones with crowned and bearded male masks. The entrance to No. 309 is on the flanking elevation, which suggests that there was never any intention that the houses should have a continuous façade. This entrance is set tightly against a semi-circular two-storey projecting bay and has a neat wooden doorcase with engaged acanthus-headed columns at each side. There are vases to the frieze blocks above. The doorway has a simple patterned fanlight and panelling to the linings and arch soffit. No. 313 lost its original entrance when additions were made at the south end of the terrace.


Figure 39.: Nos. 309–313 Brixton Road. Interior measurements of Nos. 309 and 311 not available

No. 26 Villa Road

This house is shown on the Inclosure map of 1810 as one of a pair, but the other house, on the west, was pulled down to make room for the later terrace houses in the road. It is a small stuccofronted two-storey house, with a central entrance protected by a cast-iron trellised tent-roofed porch. The window above and those at each side on the first floor are set in shallow elliptical-headed recesses, while on the ground floor there is a segmental bay on the east side and a semi-elliptical one on the west. The entrance has a delicate rectangular fanlight, patterned with three ellipses, and a reeded surround with lion-head stops at the corners.

Angell Town

Stiles Farm was enfranchised in 1847 (ref. 175) and its present layout took shape in the 1850s. The Lambeth Wick Estate on its eastern boundary was already laid out for development, but owing to lack of collaboration between the landlords the Lambeth Wick Estate had been planned depending on Loughborough Road for access to the main highway of Brixton Road (see page 109). Angell Town, as the area subsequently became known, was consequently laid out with a long principal road (Wiltshire Road) connected by short linking roads to Brixton Road and the roads on the Lambeth Wick Estate.

This layout shows something of the influence of Repton's theories of landscaping, avoiding any suggestion of a geometrical plan and presenting a careful arrangement of wide curving streets contrived to give effective cross vistas and generally to centre on the focal point of St. John's Church tower. The houses are all set in gardens and mostly built in pairs, but there is occasionally a short terrace and a number of single houses, usually placed at road junctions.

The houses are, in essentials, standardized types. There are the single houses of three storeys over semi-basements, with central porches and three widely-spaced windows in each upper storey. Then there are the smaller pairs, with semibasement, two storeys and a roof attic, the fronts being two windows wide. But perhaps the commonest type is the paired house of three storeys over a semi-basement, with linked porches, a basement and ground-floor bay window, and either three windows or a three-light and single window to each upper storey. Some fronts are completely stucco-faced, while many others are of grey brick liberally dressed with stucco quoins, porches, window-surrounds, etc. All the detail is coarse and presents a veritable ragbag of motifs, some windows having Jacobean crestings and others Italianate pediments. There are debased Louis Quinze guilloche balconies, Doric entablatures to porches and bay-windows, and some hideous doorway arches with cable mouldings and vermiculated spandrels. Near the church, however, the houses in Wiltshire Road are respectfully Gothic, having bays with segmental-headed windows, crudely gabled porches, and twin-arched windows to the upper storeys, all the arches rising from coarsely designed foliage capitals. Some, at least, of the houses were erected by James Barker of Bath Road, Peckham, (ref. 176) who was responsible for Angell Terrace (see below).

St. John's Church, Angell Town

The site of St. John's Church was freely given to the Church Building Commissioners by Benedict John Angell Angell in 1852, (ref. 177) and the cost of the building was met by William Stone of the Casino, Herne Hill. (ref. 178) The architect was Benjamin Ferrey (fn. a) and the contractors were Messrs. H. and R. Holland whose tender was for £5,302. The church accommodated about 1,150 people (ref. 178) and was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on April 30, 1853; a district was assigned in the same year. (ref. 179) In 1876 the building was extensively restored and a vestry or parish hall was added on the north side to the designs of Sextus Dyball in 1882. (ref. 180) The church was severely damaged by fire in 1947 but has since been restored to the designs of Thomas F. Ford with the altar standing beneath the chancel arch; the east end of the church is now used for parochial purposes. (ref. 181)

The church (Plate 16), which stands with the vicarage on an island site, is designed in Perpendicular Gothic style, and faced with Kentish ragstone and Bath stone dressings. Axially at the west end there is a substantial three-stage tower which is battlemented and finished with octagonal corner pinnacles. The battlements have a chequerwork pattern of red and cream-coloured stone. There are lean-to aisles flanking the nave and a gabled porch on the north side. Excepting in the nave clerestory the windows have arches with alternating cream and grey ragstone voussoirs.

The interior is simple and dignified with nave arcades of four plain pointed arches resting on octagonal piers. There is a small organ gallery beneath the tower.

St. John's C.E. Primary School, Canterbury Crescent

The site of this school was freely given by Benedict John Angell Angell. The buildings (Plate 34c) were designed in Tudor style by Benjamin Ferrey and built in Rochester brick with Bath stone dressings by Messrs. Holland in 1853; the cost was £1,600. As originally planned the school contained three large rooms and provided accommodation for 180 boys, 120 girls and 100 infants. There was also a house for the master. (ref. 182) Later additions have been unsympathetic. The school was severely damaged in the war of 1939–45, and was reopened in 1947.

Nos. 341–361 Brixton Road

Formerly Nos. I–II (consec.) Angell Terrace

This terrace was erected by James Barker of Peckham, builder, who executed an agreement to build it with Benedict John Angell Angell on January 1, 1855. (ref. 176) Barker borrowed money from Angell and Samuel Copping but shortly afterwards was declared a bankrupt. This led to a delay in the finishing of the houses and only Nos. 1, 2, 4, 10 and 11 were occupied in 1860, the whole terrace being occupied by 1868. (ref. 174) The terrace (Plate 49b) is boldly conceived and consists of four-storey stock brick houses of Classical design with the two end and three centre houses set forward slightly and contained by quoins at the corners. A substantial appearance is given by the ornamental stucco work which is liberally applied to the window surrounds and throughout the ground storey where it is channelled. The two end houses have enclosed entrances with side arched openings. The others have open Roman Doric porches which are separate except in the case of the two houses at each side of the centre portion, where they are linked; all have a full order with mutules, triglyphs and guttae to the cornice, frieze and architrave respectively. This decoration is continued as an ornamental band between the porches. All the windows are architrave-lined and are either eared or consoled at the sills. The first- and secondfloor windows are elaborated variously with plain, triangular-pedimented, and segmental-pedimented hoods conforming to a regular pattern throughout the facade; on the second floor the windows are further ornamented with pulvinated, ribboned and rosetted friezes. Above the architraves of some of the windows on the third floor there is a type of Jacobean strap ornament which occurs elsewhere on the Angell estate. The terrace is finished with a vigorous festooned and bracketed cornice with a deep blocking course to the parapet above.

Brixton Police Station

Brixton Police Station was erected in 1858 to the designs of Charles Reeves, Metropolitan Police Surveyor, at a cost of £2,974; the building was extended in 1909. (ref. 183) The design has a distinct flavour of Vanbrugh and is very like other police buildings by the same architect, for example, No. 10 Gipsy Hill. Built of stock brick, five bays wide with a two-bayed extension to the south, it is three storeys high on a semi-basement and formerly had a mansard roof. The quoins and all other dressings are of brick except the bracketed cornice which is rendered in cement. On the ground floor the windows are rusticated and round-arched with triple bays. There is a band course at first-floor level and another beneath the second-floor windows and all the upper openings have segmental keyed heads and lugged architraves. The doorway was altered in 1909.

No. 372 Coldharbour Lane (demolished c. 1933)

Formerly Halnaker Lodge

This charming Regency house stood on the north side of the road opposite Somerleyton Road. It was a two-storey stucco-fronted house with overhanging eaves, and flanked by single-storey wings. In the centre was a semi-circular projecting porch with unfluted Greek Doric columns, which supported the delicate ironwork of the verandah above. The house is illustrated by a photograph in Small Houses of the Late Georgian Period 1750–1820 by Stanley C. Ramsey, and by photographs and measured drawings in a supplement to The Architect and Building News for July 1, 1932.

Nos. 314–320 (even), 332, 334, 340 and 342 Brixton Road

Formerly Nos. 1–4 (consec.) Park Place, and Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 7 Park Terrace

The ten acres of copyhold land held of Lambeth Manor which lay on the west side of Brixton Road were sold in 1803 by William Brown Angell to Thomas Woodroffe Smith. (ref. 166) A small portion of the land was let under a licence to demise granted in 1807 (ref. 184) but Nos. 314–320, 332, 334, 340 and 342 Brixton Road were erected by Evan Roberts of north Brixton, (ref. 185) slate-merchant, under a licence granted in 1826 to Smith's trustees. Nos. 314–320 are two plain pairs of stock brick houses, well elevated above the road. They are of three storeys with semibasements and are set forward at the ends above their Greek Doric porches. No. 318 is ruinous. Nos. 332 and 334 are another plain pair, and have coupled antae flanking their recessed entrance porches. Nos. 340 and 342 are a pair of larger villas of three storeys above semi-basements. Their fronts were almost identical until the central Ionic porch of No. 342 was mutilated. Both have round-arched windows over the porches, and their ground floor windows, set in shallow elliptical-arched recesses, have moulded linking impost bands.

Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church, Brixton Road

At the southernmost point of the ten acres stands the present Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary (Plate 27d). The building was formerly known as Brixton Independent Church, and was erected by means of subscriptions raised by the congregation of Claylands Chapel (ref. 186) (see page 61), and opened in June 1870. (ref. 187) The architect was Arthur J. Phelps and the contractors were Myers and Son. (ref. 145) During the war of 1939–45 the building was heavily damaged, and its use as an Independent place of worship discontinued. It was restored in 1952–3 for the Roman Catholic congregation of St. Helen's, Robsart Street, and opened for worship on December 8, 1953. (ref. 188) The architects for the restoration were Justin Alleyn and John Mansel. (ref. 189) The church is built of red brick interspersed with vitrified bricks which give a striped appearance to the pointed door and window openings. It has stone dressings and is designed in a style showing Early English Gothic influence. There is a bold three-stage tower of rectangular plan at the northeast corner. The present crown of battlements replaces the original termination, which comprised a solid brick chisel spire rising from the parapets. The high altar stands at the west end of the church in an apse which is lit by six long lancet windows, and there are short transepts on either side. The nave and aisles are separated by slender cast-iron arcades which also supported the side galleries, removed at the time of restoration. The hall on the south side of the church, in the same style and materials, was demolished in 1955. A new hall and vestry were built and alterations to the forecourt carried out in the same year.

Footnotes

a Benjamin Ferrey was a pupil of Augustus Charles Pugin and author of Recollections of A. W. N. Pugin and Augustus Pugin.

References

137. C.C., Deed 171204, pp. 180–190 (entry omitted in proper place, i.e. June 15, 1805, and copied in here).
145. Foundation stone.
146. Historical Particulars of Lambeth Parish…, by the Rev. S. Denne, 1795, p. 436.
147. Pedigree among the deeds in the custody of the Angell Estate Trustees.
148. P.C.C., 166 King.
149. C.C., Deed 171194, pp. 66–67.
150. M. P. L., 4812.
151. Ibid., Deed Z59.
152. C.C., Deed 171194, pp. 9–12.
153. Ibid., Deed 171198, pp. 166–169.
154. Ibid., Deed 171195, pp. 107–108.
155. Ibid., Deed 171195, pp. 157–158. Ibid., Deed 171196, p. 359.
156. P.R.O., C 103/Blunt 148. M.P.L., 4812.
See also Chapter III, p. 91.
157 P.O., C 103/Blunt 148.
158. C.C., Deed 171197, ff.125–126.
159. Ibid., Deed 171196, pp. 129–136.
160. Ibid., Deed 171197, f. 255.
161. S. Denne, op. cit., p. 430.
162. Ibid., P. 441.
163. C.C., Deed 171198, p. 162.
164. Ibid., Deed 171198, p.237–240.
165. S. Denne, op. cit., p. 431.
166. C.C., Deed 171199, pp. 167–168.
167. Ibid., Deed 171201, pp. 333–336.
168. L.P.L., Lambeth Inclosure Commissioners' Papers, Claims Files.
169. Lambeth Inclosure Map (copy in the custody of the Town Clerk).
170. C.C., Deed 171202, pp. 433–438.
171. Ibid., Deed 171202, pp. 455–458.
172. M.P.L., Deed 37.
173. Ibid., Deed 64.
174. R. B.
175. C.C., Deed 171206, p. 462.
176. Deeds in the custody of the Angell Estate Trustees.
177. C.C., File 20455.
178. The Builder, 1853, p. 296.
179. C.C., File 17749.
180. M.B.W. Case 31345.
181. T.P. Case 44119.
182. The Builder, 1853, p. 360.
183. Information supplied by the Chief Architect and Surveyor to the Metropolitan Police.
184. C.C., Deed 171200, pp. 484–485.
185. Ibid., Deed 171202, pp. 170–175.
186. P.R.O., C54/17070, No. 8.
187. B.A. Case 48155, 1921 year book.
188. Information supplied by the priest-in-charge.
189. T.P. Case 46460.