Elmhurst, photographed in 1939

During his time in Finchley Salvin bought and sold various pieces of land in the area. In 1835 Salvin and Nesfield, who was also married, bought adjoining plots of land in Fortis Green, next to Nevil Smart's fourth house, Summerlee, shown on page 65. There Salvin built two semi-detached houses in an Italian villa style 46 SUPERSCRIPT, while Nesfield laid out the gardens as one landscaped unit and kept sheep in the field below. They called the houses Colethall and Springcroft Lodge and, since the dividing line between the two houses was probably about where Springcroft Avenue now lies, the name was passed on.

Salvin let his house. Later Colethall was re-named Uplands. Both houses were still shown on the 1894 map, but by then Park Hall had been redeveloped as Park Hall Road. Salvin's two houses were then demolished as the start of Summerlee Avenue.

In 1840 Loudon, the great encyclopedist, published an article on Nesfield's villa in Gardeners' Magazine. It described how Salvin and Nesfield had bought a field of about 8 1/2 fraction in SUPERSCRIPT acres which sloped down gently, so that the bottom fence was perhaps fifty feet below the level of Fortis Green. The field was south-facing, with splendid views across the valley to Highgate Church and Kenwood. Hints of this view can still be seen today between the chimney pots, from the top of Springcroft Avenue.

If Nesfield had divided the site into two narrow strips, in the normal way, the view from either house would have been restricted. Instead, he gave each house a large, enclosed front garden, placed the houses well down the slope, and divided the rear land crossways, by a wire fence. The wire became almost invisible from the houses, allowing both houses to enjoy a wide prospect of the valley and ridge beyond.

 

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4 6 Highgate Tunnel: or the Secret Arch, 1812, by Joan Schwitzer, Hornsey Historical Society Bulletin No 32. SUPERSCRIPT

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