The vendor had bought it in 1857 and was now selling it as either a house and grounds, or, with the cooperation of the Hornsey Local Board, as a building site. This Board had been established in 1867 to control the quality of the houses built in the district. They had established a Museum in Higligate and had, for example, a Catalogue of Sanitary Appliances acceptable to the Board for the guidance of builders: In the Elms sale we can see the Local Board actively supporting the development of Muswell Hill.

The 1880 Sale documents show an estate plan with a proposed road sketched in and say:

'If intersected by a road which is being offered by the authorities at their own cost would form a most valuable building estate. The enjoyment of the residence with sufficient grounds could be retained without interfering with the development of the estate.'

Potential builders were being offered the inducement of a free road, which is surely most unusual. In fact the house was to continue as a private residence for nearly another thirty years. In 1907 the Old Tollingtonians Football Club played Alleyns at The Elms. This must have been about the last time the ground was used for football as Edmondson was about to buy The Elms, Wellfield and North Lodge on the opposite side of the road. He combined the first two and built Duke's Avenue, Wellfield Avenue, Elms Avenue and Methuen Park.

The houses are very similar to the larger Collins houses, in a similar red brick, white cavetto mouldings with pargetting below the gutters, and slate roofs. Some have an elaborate brick and plaster vase design built above the front doors as decoration. Panels like this, common in Maida Vale or Chelsea, are rare in Muswell Hill.


Edmondson did not build all Duke's Avenue

An Edmondson house in Duke's Avenue

 

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British Library Maps Dept, Sales documents of The Elms,1880

 

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