Tour Part 5 - The later Suburb north of the A1

Brookland Rise

On the far side of the Al a high standard had already been set by G L Sutcliffe in his three closes of 1914-15, Eastholm, Midholm and Westholm. Oakwood Tenants tried to keep it up in the completion of their estate in the Brookland Rise area. For the lower junction of Brookland Rise and Brookland Hill, close to the Al, they employed C H James (c 1924) to design four special pairs of houses, in the Unwin tradition, in a handsome mixture of dark red brick and tile-hanging. For the upper junction of Brookland Rise and Brookland Hill C G Butler designed a similar arrangement of houses, in his quiet purple brick Georgian.

Brookland Close (1924 by Soutar) and Brookland Garth (1924 by Butler) are other honourable attempts to continue Sutcliffe's picturesque groupings.

Butler however was happier in Georgian. His two-storey flats in terraces round the top of Midholm Close (1928) and round a 'village green' at numbers 34-72 Hill Top (c 1929) are admirable 'twenties versions of Lucas Square and Litchfield Square, with carefully proportioned purple walls and hipped roofs. In Hutchings Walk half was designed by Butler and half by Crickmer (1936).

Ossulton Way, Brim Hill, Edmunds Walk

Ossulton Way was laid out in 1935. There is a 'village green' of white-walled modernistic houses by Welch, Cachemaille-Day and Lander (numbers 64-86; numbers 49-75 opposite are similar, as are the adjoining houses in Ludlow Way by Crickmer, 1935). Then there is another cul-de-sac of two storey flats by Butler (Neale Close, 1929).

Eastwards of Ossulton Way, the 'spine road' function of Hill Top is continued in Brim Hill. Howard Walk to the left is a crescent of modernistic houses, white-walled and hip-roofed, by Crickmer (1935). Gurney Drive to the right (1931) is a two-pronged descent to the Al, one prong of picturesque houses by Butler, the other of neo-Georgian by P D Hepworth - the one place in the Later Suburb which equals Welwyn. There may be a slight absurdity in white shutters that are hung upside down and cannot be used as such, but the grouping of the houses is nonetheless excellently handled, with slight projections and recessions and a strong sense of unity in the whole road.

In Brim Hill numbers 74-78 are a modernistic work by Drury and Reekie, well placed on the corner of Widecombe Way. Finally, beyond Deansway, there is the escapist quaintness of Edmunds Walk (1936). The half-timber houses by R H Williams in the first straight stretch are a prelude to the village green beyond, designed partly by Williams, partly by Burgess, Holden and Watson. This is an architecture which makes merits of defects: decayed brickwork, gnarled timber, roof ridges sagging in surprising places. It may be too much to expect the tired commuters to join in a maypole dance as they come down the path from Finchley East station; all the same, the village green is delightfully set on its hillside and has genuine qualities of space.

Lyttelton Road

The Al itself, east of Sutcliffe's pretty Falloden Way cottages, becomes Lyttelton Road. After Soutar had made an attempt to echo the German tower of Temple Fortune in the first block of shops at the entrance to Kingsley Way, the rest of Market Place was handed over to a shopping parade. East of that are blocks of flats. Widecombe Court, for example, is an attempt by Crickmer (1930) to spread small-scale domesticity over a long elevation. The square green at the foot of Vivian Way should have been the Market Place. Nos. 24.30 Vivian Way are an "early modern" group by Brian Herbert.

Belvedere Court, by Ernst Freud, son of the psychologist, is a genuine and impressive attempt to find a new kind of scale for the large block of flats. The vocabulary, with the long strips of window whizzing round curved corners, comes from the streamlined office blocks and department stores of Erich Mendelsohn.