The studies on this disk are very wide ranging and some may not be suitable for young children, as they may arouse fear. Teachers will know which are likely to upset their pupils. I would suggest that the details of the Bombing Map and the photographs of local bomb sites are not suitable for any below the Very Top Juniors. For this reason the local Bomb Site photographs have been put into a separate folder. The whole tone of this Walk should be on how architects, planners and the general public have created a pleasant environment, clean, well built, attractive and safe from road accidents. This is the story of Milton Gardens, a new Town Garden Estate.
The position in 1945
During the Second World War some houses were badly damaged by bombing. Others had deteriorated because there was no time to keep them in good repair during the six years of War. Therefore, at the end of the Second World War everyone decided to build what has now become a pleasant little area of about eight streets. Almost all the traffic by-passes it and does not know that it is there.
Planning Milton Gardens
This small section will be of interest to older pupils and architectural students, but with help, older Primary School pupils are perfectly capable of understanding it. The problem will be to convey the immense difference between the modern housing scene and the devastation after the Second World War. The key book is the children’s novel, ‘The Otterbury Incident’, by C, Day Lewis. It gives the atmosphere of the times as no other adventure book does. Two gangs of children have battles on a large bombsite. Then they sign a truce and combine to defeat a real gang of ‘spivs’ and coiners, who are eventually defeated in the most humiliating manner. This is not Town Planning but is the atmosphere in which the planning had to be done.
Imagine the first planning meeting about redeveloping the Milton Road/Shakespeare Road site. The planners and architects must have met with nothing but the Bomb Damage map sheet and pads of blank paper. They may have asked some junior architect in the team to produce copies of the bombing map, with the worst damage marked in. He could not have made colour copies in those days but he might have produced dye-line copies in dark blue on white, like the one below. Almost every very building in the Poets Roads area had suffered at least Blast damage (Yellow). The Worst damage (Black, Purple, Dark Red) have been shaded in. The other houses were repairable. Whether they would be repaired or not, would depend on the overall plan for the area.
KEITH CAN THIS BE COLOURED DARK BLUE PLEASE LIKE A DYE LINE?
They had to rebuild a huge area but there were some things they could not do. Let us list them.
They could not have planned the whole estate at that time as many of the old houses were still occupied. Their first job was ti build on the bomb sites.
These rough, numbered blocks later became:-
Then, some years later, as tenants could be moved out of the old patched up houses into the new flats, the old houses were demolished and new flats could be built. It was a slow, carefully considered, process. The order of building can be followed today by looking closely at the flats.
The earliest flats burnt coal and have tall chimneys. Earlier blocks, with sloping roofs, have tall chimneys above the top floor fires but these are hidden by the roof slopes. Flats with flat roofs, a design which came slightly later, have very tall chimneys standing clear above the roofs. These are much more noticeable. If the flats had short chimneys, the fumes and carbon monoxide would not have been carried away and the tenants in the top flats could have been asphyxiated.
Later blocks of flats have gas boilers with balanced flues, and do not need chimneys.
The latest flats and houses have cavity walls and gas boilers. Some, as in Howard Road, have outside walls laid as stretchers. Others, as in Cowper Road, have outside walls in special bricks which are a different shape and are slightly thinner. Go and look.
The Final Block Plan of the New Estate
Having decided all that, the meeting would have been declared Closed, and everyone could get on with detailed planning. In the end, the first sketch became this Milton Gardens Estate Plan.
The old Right of Way (not shown) runs along the top of the site map, with Butterfield Green above that
Please remove this line. I cannot
And Seventy Years later
With thanks to the Property Services.
KEITH. COULD THIS BE MADE SO THAT PEOPLE CAN MOVE OVER IT AND ENLAGE PLEASE?
Grasmere Walk 4 will describe the building of Milton Gardens Estate in detail but, in the meantime, this is a picture of Butterfield Green, a new lung for the neighbourhood, which could so easily have become a mass of flats. In the end the houses on the east side of Cowper Road were demolished and the site added to Butterfield Green, so the gardens were even bigger than shown on the preliminary sketch above.
Revised: October 22, 2011