Well preserved

cottage-1Painting by Lady Anne Rushout of Grove Cottage, circa 1830

Rosemary Walker looks at the history of the Wanstead Grove Conservation Area and encourages residents to take part in Redbridge Council’s appraisal and management plan consultation

Wanstead Grove Conservation Area provides a well-preserved area of late-Victorian and Edwardian suburban housing that represents an important stage in the development of Wanstead from a country village to a middle-class London suburb.

The different periods of buildings allows one to understand the historic development of the area, while the largely unchanged forms and details of the houses result in an attractive and verdant suburban area. A number of architectural gems, including the large 18th-century house of Applegarth and the 1890s Arts and Crafts almshouses at Roding Cottages, Nutter Lane, further raise the standard of the area’s architectural interest. The well-maintained public open space of the Nutter Recreation Ground contributes to the rural feel of the winding path of Nutter Lane, and the historic Nightingale Green is a reminder of the area’s rural beginnings.  

During the mid-late 19th century, much of the land in Wanstead was sold for housing development. The residential dwellings constructed on the land were predominantly well-proportioned, detached and semi-detached. The Grove Estate was sold at auction in 1889 and the large country house – which stood on the junction between Grove Park and The Avenue – was subsequently demolished. The Grove Estate was gradually developed after 1889, starting with houses in Grove Park and The Avenue. Two 18th-century garden buildings, formerly part of the formal gardens, remain in the rear gardens of properties on The Avenue. A gazebo remains in the garden of 20 The Avenue, which is Grade II* listed, and a temple at number 14 survives and is also Grade II* listed.

In 1921, Nutter Field was donated to the people of Wanstead by the Nutter sisters (daughters of a wealthy cheese merchant and who the lane is named after) for the purpose of leisure and recreational use. 

By the early 20th century, the Estate was well established and development was dense. As a result, there were land shortages for further homes. This stimulated the construction of flats. The Shubbery, located on Grosvenor Road, was constructed in 1935 by Cockett, Henderson & Gillow for the North-East London Property Company Ltd. The apartment blocks are constructed in an Art Deco style and are now Grade II listed. Grove Cottage – which formerly stood on the corner of Nutter Lane and Leicester Road – was known to have been one of Wanstead’s oldest buildings but was demolished in 1957.

The Wanstead Grove Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan document will guide future development and design within the conservation area. The council now needs your feedback to ensure it incorporates local knowledge and responds to local priorities.

The consultation is open until 15 April. To take part, visit wnstd.com/grove

Author: Editor