Tour Part 4 - The later Suburb south of the A1

Southway, Middleway, Northway

Because the land was not part of the original Eton College estate and was made available by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners only in 1912, the three avenues radiating eastwards from Central Square do not appear on Unwin's plan of April, 1911 but they, and Kingsley Way across their eastern end, are shown on a map of May 1913, so Unwin was evidently responsible for their layout. The detailed layout by Professor Hector Corfiato and C G Butler in 1923 immediately preceded the buildings (apart from the small group of early houses, numbers 6-16, at the top of Southway, at first regarded as part of Bigwood Road).

First there were some special buildings to complete the central precinct, including the unfinished additions to the Institute and the erection of the Junior School. At the top of Northway, next to the Friends' Meeting House, Soutar designed the Tea House, in a modified version of the Parker and Unwin (or rather, Charles Wade) style with clipped brick gables. Next to it is the Free Church Hall, a lively design by Edward Meredith in a surprisingly Edwardian style, derived from Norman Shaw or Sir Ernest George (Particularly the little polygonal oriel on brackets). Round the corner in Bigwood Road, facing the Junior School, are the three-sided courtyards of Bigwood and Southwood Courts, designed as early as 1917 by Soutar.

Between the two courts runs Middleway, and to each side, Northway and Southway radiate in long straight avenues towards the Al. James designed an excellent pair of houses, numbers 30-32 Southway, which can be taken as a standard against which to judge the others. The pale purplish brick is ornamented only by brick-on-edge string courses and parapets, with pantiled roofs and tall chimneys deriving from Lutyens (in whose office James had worked), and a strip of black weatherboarding across the first-floor centre.

Hubert Lidbetter's 20 Middleway is in a rather similar style, but with attractive personal touches in the round-headed doorway and carefully modelled chimney stacks. Lidbetter was also nominally the architect for 15 Thornton Way (between Middleway and Southway) which is quintessentially 'twenties in its unusual but extremely pretty exaggeration of the contrast between an enormous purple chimney stack and a small-scale patterning of random bricks spattered on pure white walls. It derives partly from ideas of the American farmhouse (as in a later black weatherboarded gable at the back). Probably Lidbetter's assistant R Scott Cockrill was largely responsible for the design, as he had done similar brick patterned houses when in practice on his own in Suffolk before 1914.

Number 26 Southway is another good house, designed for himself (c 1927) by A H Moberly, of Slater and Moberly. The projecting porch bay is carefully detailed in brick, with a mullioned and pedimented window over a round-arched doorway. Between the three avenues at the bottom, off Litchfield Way, are two more culs-de-sac, Sutcliffe Close (1926 by J W Binge) being typical of the teahouse Tudor into which the Suburb changed. Brunner Close is C M Crickmer's most distinguished postwar work (1924). It has restrained semi-detached houses with white walls and white gables, with doorways surprisingly framed by a Georgian bolection moulding.

Green, Cotman, Raeburn, Emmott Closes

Thornton Way leads southwards to Meadway, where number 64 has a well-composed chimney stack on the corner of Green Close, a pleasant cul-de-sac in dark brown brick by Soutar's assistant, W T Powell (1935). Meadway leads quickly to Wildwood Road, where numbers 68-106 are a reasonable match for the earlier houses on the other side. Number 68 is by Paul Badcock on his own (c 1923), number 70 by Soutar (on his own for once) and numbers 72-78 by Badcock as Soutar's chief assistant.

Behind is a sequence of three closes, connected by footpaths, which is up to Unwin's standards in its coherence. Cotman Close has charming neo-Georgian terraces by Soutar (or rather by his assistant, Badcock) of 1924. In Raeburn Close number 7 (Two Stacks) was designed by F W Knight for himself in 1924. Emmott Close is an excellent quadrangle of brick flats, simply accented with round-arched hoodmoulds and higher three-storey pavilions, all designed in 1928 for the United Women's Housing Association by H Duncan Hendry of Dendry & Schooling. Particularly effective is the splaying out of Kingsley and Cosway Houses towards Kingsley Way, making a kind of village green where the water main reservation crosses the bend in Wildwood Road.

Facing down Kingsley Way, with its back to the golf course, is Bunkers Dip, an eccentric but characterful house by Philip Hepworth in a kind of dark brick Byzantine, with round-arched windows, red pantiles and a polygonal staircase tower.

Neville Drive, Holne Chase, Lytton Close

From here Neville Drive runs eastwards, with expensive individual houses of the 'thirties on the golf course side, a curious mixture ranging from neo-Georgian to Hepworth's white-walled Cape Dutch (with blue and green pantiles) to a tentative 'early modern' in dark brick. Number 21 opposite is more convincedly International Style the pantiled roof no doubt stipulated by the authorities.

Round the corner in Spencer Drive number 26 is an early example of International Modern, by A S Gray, designed in Rome when on a scholarship (1934). Carlyle Close opposite is an introduction to Herbert A Welch's careful compromise with modernism (in his partnership with N F Cachemaille-Day and F J Lander). Here the clash between curved windows of the Erich Mendelsohn kind and hipped roofs with pantiles is largely resolved by the use of a pleasant dark red brick. Behind it in Home Chase is a most attractive example of C H James's type of neo-Georgian in number 17, designed by Soutar (Powell) in 1936; it was specially built to screen the electricity sub-station attached to its rear.

Norrice Lea has the neo-Georgian Synagogue by Morris de Metz (1936) and a pleasant group of houses at numbers 33-43, probably by Robert Atkinson. Off Linden Lea is Lytton Close, by G G Winbourne, 1935, the one attempt in the Suburb to create a coherent environment out of International Modern. The detailing is unsophisticated in the same Mendelsohnian derivative that Welch used, but Winbourne had the courage of his convictions in his lively skyline of flat roofs and glazed 'sun rooms'.

After the little villas of Linden Lea and Kingsley Way (mostly by Soutar), one comes, just before Lyttelton Road to Kingsley Close, the first and best of the modernistic designs by Welch, Cachemaille-Day and Lander, this time with white walls and green pantiles.