The Monday Photo
At first glance, these semi-detached houses looked to me like just another example of those 50s and 60s ex-council houses, the type that are everywhere in this part of the world; I grew up in one.
But when I noticed their unusual, round, paired chimney stacks I looked more closely.
Then I saw the brick pilasters (like flat, partial columns) at the corners and in the centres of the front walls. These six pairs of homes were built as estate cottages for Biddlesden Park, in about 1830.
Our old council house was large but plain; these estate cottages are nicely detailed and bear closer attention. The windows have flat brick arches and the front doors have hoodmoulds to divert rainwater away.
The brickwork is in a chequer pattern. As well as the round chimneys and pilasters, the cottages have wave edged eaves and bargeboards.
These might still be the original wooden windows, but the early 50s council house I grew up in had the Crittal Company’s metal framed windows, replaced in the mid 90s by double glazed units. When that happened I took three of the windows away and built them into a motorcycle shed that I still use today.
Each pair of cottages seems to have been knocked into one. In this nearest pair you can see that the nearest doorway has been blocked up and the two front gardens have been made into one. It’s a similar story with the rest.
In contrast, just down the hill are a couple of council type semi-detached houses, similar to the one I grew up in; it’s interesting to compare the two types.
A little further down the hill is the county boundary with Northants, subject of a recent Monday Photo. The county boundary marker is in the middle of the bridge; the boundary following the course of the river.
There you go, two things to see for the price of one.
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