The Official Registrar attributed Vigers' failure to the continuous depreciation in the values of house property in this district and the inability of the builder to sell the large houses which he persisted in building. His backers formed a trust and gave him more time to pay off his debts. The Church Commissioners and Neeld wrote off some of his debts and generally seem to have been accommodating in what were difficult building conditions The trust built more modest houses, like those in Oakington Road. The attempt to become a second Bayswater had been put aside.

Some of the Vigers Houses in Marylands Road

Changing House Designs to suit different pockets

As one walks along from the Harrow Road house designs change, reflecting changes in building style during the period. They also show the changes in the builders' aspirations. Early houses tend to be rather grander and designs become more modest as wealthy buyers become more difficult to attract so far from town. Changes in building style also represent bankruptcies, where the original builder failed and another took up the story perhaps several years later, when conditions improved. Completing the estate was a slow, complicated story.

By 1869 Oakington Road had been proposed, but no houses built. By 1887 the houses had reached Shirland Road and the estate had been completed. The type of street name changes too. Oakington and Thorngate were mere advertisers' names, chosen for their country sound and their promise of a bucolic life made possible by the opening of the Metropolitan Railway and what is now the North London Line. The same feeling was evoked in the 1920s with Metro-land, where again the railway brought country living within reach of town.

It was not until the 1880s that Vigers had paid off sufficient of his debts to be able to raise more money. By this time his son was in charge of the timber business. When the Bakerloo Line was built, nearly thirty years later, Maida Vale and the Kilburn area really opened up. Houses began to sell freely, but it had come too late for Vigers.

The Vigers timber firm continued in business as Vigers Hardwood Flooring Systems Ltd, in Tottenham and later at Epping. There were members of the Vigers family still in the business until the 1980s, when they sold to new management, but the name continues, a century and a half since Vigers himself was building. His houses in Marylands Road, refurbished and let as flats, sell for prices he could not have imagined possible, but that is another story.


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Updated March 11, 2011