Typical Building Details of about 1860

The houses in Surrendale Place and Sevington Street, which lie parallel, have back additions which allowed the houses to conform to the new Building Regulations of the time and yet have short road frontages. Some earlier houses elsewhere had become unhealthy warrens, with rooms leading out of other rooms and having no direct light or ventilation. The new regulations said that every room had to have a window of a stipulated size and opening direct to sunlight. At first this seemed to mean that buildings could be only two rooms thick, but architects soon invented the L-shaped house with a Back Addition. This allows direct light to reach three layers of rooms and so gave the maximum floor area on a short street frontage. This design breakthrough swept the country. The Bayswater Dreadnought houses are a more sophisticated variation on the same idea (see page. 72).

Cast iron balcony unit
A basement in Surrendale Place
A section showing how the gravel from the basements was
thrown up in front of the houses to form the roads.

The fact that there are basements, tells us that the underlying ground is gravel. Cellars in clay lands have to be waterproofed, a very expensive process, so houses in clay areas tended to be built with mere coal cellars, which could be used to store coal but were uninhabitable because they were damp. The Local Authority would not have allowed people to live in them.

The section of Surrendale Place and Sevington Street shows that the gardens are lower than the roads. This was quite common on well drained gravel land at the period. The houses were built with the most important rooms, reception rooms and dining rooms, slightly raised and a basement below. The basement had to be dug out and the gravel put somewhere. It could not be spread over the gardens as this had been agricultural land for centuries and would make good gardens. The builders could not afford to put the gravel in carts and carry it away, so they threw it in front and built the roads of it. The gardens are at the level of the original fields, while the roads are higher.

The Booth Map of the Area in 1889

Booth Map of area surounding Paddintion Basin

Charles Booth (not to be confused with General Booth of the Salvation Army) was a wealthy business man who refused to believe that a million Londoners lived in 'great poverty', as radical politicians claimed. He started a long survey to prove them wrong, the first really carefu1 survey of how people lived and worked. Booth divided people into eight groups H-A, but coloured in his maps in seven colours ranging from 'Wealthy' to 'The Lowest Class' as follows: -

Wealthy (three or more servants; houses rated £100 or more)
Well to do (one or two servants)
Working class comfort
Comfort mixed with poverty
Standard poverty
Very poor
The lowest grade

This map shows how mixed this area had become. Paddington Basin had been an industrial area from 1801. If weathy people in expensive houses were to be attacted to the area they needed to be protected from this industry. Sutherland Ave was cut north of the Paddington Basin. Its huge houses were carefully protected from the Blue and even Black of the houses around the basin. The Marylands Road/Sherland Road block was almost entirely Red (well to do) and even the houses nearby occupied the foreman and chief clerks were all very respectable.

There is a lot more about the Booth Povery Maps in pages 133 onwards.

Thus the same thing had happened to the south of the basin to cut off Tibernia from the Canal Basin poverty.

Uses of the Booth Poverty Maps in this website.


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Updated January 2, 2013