The recent visit to St Mark’s Church, in Catford and on the edge of the North Downham Estate and the place of my baptism in 1958 led to an amazing find: the Excalibur estate.
It all started with my visiting the venue of my christening. St Mark’s Church, North Downham SE6 is a wonderful church building where its architecture reflects its time. Built around 1947 to meet the needs of the new tenants in the 187 new prefabricated temporary homes built on the Excalibur estate around 1945 by prisoners of war.
I mentioned in my last post that the church is a prefabricated construction of concrete sides and a Nissen hut type roof, here is a photo showing this.
The method of construction and style of architecture suit its environment perfectly as the Excalibur estate is wholly of prefabricated homes. Many are like this below – prefabricated concrete while others are of the Uni-Serco type of reinforced plywood (link).
The estate is big covering some 12 acres (link)
Many of the homes face the road but lots do not, rather they front long thin alleyways.
Sadly or not (depending on your point of view) the estate is scheduled for demolition and redevelopment and so when I visited on April 27 2014 some of the homes were boarded up and others – clearly once loved – derelict.
However it was clear that people were still living in many of the homes with some clearly loving and cherishing them.
I understand that six of the prefabs are now listed (link).
Then as I turned out of Baudwin Road into Hazelbank Road we left this little time bubble and came back to today.
I am so glad I made this visit. I’ve lived in the area all of my life but did not know of the estate until now. And just as I find it, it begins to vanish. I makes me feel a bit like I imagine Edward S Curtis did when travelling in the Wild West (link).