The vast majority of Muswell Hill was built for renting, so the estate offices continued to have enormous control over the appearance of the district right up to the 1967 Leasehold Reform Act. Now there is a danger of people putting in incongruous modern windows and doors and destroying the visual unity of the area, so conservation areas are becoming more important all the time.
Round the edge of the Fortis House and Limes site, Edmondson built his splendid shops. They, with their arched fronts along Fortis Green Road and square ones along Muswell Hill Road, give Muswell Hill its shape. In 1976 there was an attempt to demolish the Church at the end of Princes Avenue and redevelop. This would have torn a gaping hole in the unity of the Broadway and made further desecration easier. Fortunately this was prevented and tile Broadway, despite some discordant shop fronts, is still most attractive. The campaign to save the Church is described later in a separate chapter.
On the opposite side of Colney Hatch Lane, where Duke's Avenue now runs, was the Elms, a large family house with extensive grounds, which was sold in 1880. The sales documents contain three plate-sized photographs of a large ivy-covered house standing on a wide terrace, with a sunken croquet lawn below and landscaped gardens with specimen trees. There was a broad, gravelled walk through rose arches and. to the north, about two acres of fruit and vegetables garden.