The Barbot Estate lies between Victoria Road and the railway just south of Church Street. Though there are also a number of maisonettes on the estate it was mostly known from the 1970s onwards for the four tower blocks - Lancelot House, Tintagel House, Camelot House and Pendragon House.
Work on the estate started in the late 1960s. The first tower opened was Lancelot House in 1968. It is the one on the left of the photo (pity I don't have the full size one!) on Barbot Close and you can see it has a slightly different roof line to the group of three on Salisbury Road (Tintagel, Camelot and Pendragon in that order starting from the railway line).
I had never been a great fan of the tower blocks which I considered ugly blots on the landscape and had long wished to see them demolished. However they did get an exterior refurbishment a good few years back and seemed a lot the better for it. On the "ends" they seemed to gain different colour under window panels to give each a slightly different look but perhaps they were always there! Whatever they did it improved them even if it was just a clean. Whatever you think about them, you can't deny they were a great landmark. I found them especially handy to mark the approach to the station when travelling by train.
I feel that having been there 30 years or so they had earned the right to go out with a bang but sadly the presence of asbestos materials has led to the need to take them down piece by piece. Lancelot House was the first to go and disappeared rapidly in late 2001and a lot quicker than I expected. Tintagel House was next to go with demolition having started in February 2002 and although it was expected to take a week per floor it was just rubble by May. The maisonettes don't look too bad from a distance but I believe are also being replaced.
Given that I have never been a fan of the estate you may wonder why it gets a page to itself, especially as I don't have any really useful material (I have taken several photos over a couple of years since writing that and of course it is local history in the making). Well simply because Paul Townsend wrote and asked if I could do something as he has a particular interest in it. He is also after photos of any stage of the estates life. No point in my having asked for suggestions if I don't listen to them is there? It should also be remembered that the estate has been home to a lot of people and they may have much fonder memories than those who only see it from a distance.
"Demolition Day", August 4th 2001, was a sort of "fun day" to signal the start of the demolition programme and was featured in the council newspaper "The Enfield". The demolition is being handled by Demo One who just happened to have the photo on the right on their web site. I am not saying it is actually Lancelot House but it is about the right size ;-)
By December 2001 Lancelot House had vanished from the skyline and the tower crane was already in place by Tintagel House.
March 2002 and September 2002
Another story from "The Enfield" featuring the start of demolition of Tintagel House in February/March 2002 and was interesting for this view of The Broadway from Camelot House. We then jump forward to September 2002 post demolition and see the remaining two towers and the new housing going up on Victoria Road in front of the former site of Lancelot House. I've also shown the rather uninviting entrance to Pendragon House.
October 2002 to January 2003
Demolition was starting on Camelot House in October 2002. It was only now I noticed that most of the windows had already been removed from the block. The views in the left hand pictures are from The Green looking under the footbridge and from the end of Pymmes Gardens North on the Hyde Estate.
Camelot House was a good halfway down by the end of December but the picture I took to illustrate this was not usable! I did at last take a photo of the maisonettes though which is shown centre right. Come the end of January and the tower crane has been dismantled and there are five floors to go.
Come March 2003 and the last few floors of Camelot House were still there. I took a few photos from the up platform on the railway station.
It may be a coincidence, but my T.V. reception on a portable aerial was gradually changing and deteriorating over a year or so and it suddenly occurred to me that this is about the same time as these buildings have been coming down and they are in the line of sight. Now wouldn't that be irritating!
October and November 2003
Camelot House stayed much as it was in the above photos for quite some time and it might have been as late as July before demolition was completed. This just left Pendragon House and after months with not a lot seeming to happen a tower crane appeared in October 2003. The first couple of photos above are pretty hopeless but the third one is better and shows that the scaffolding was about a third of the way up. It was almost complete by the end of the third week in November.
January and February 2004
An update for January 2004. Pendragon House was disappearing rapidly as is shown in the photo above left. I also noticed that the west to east part of Barbot Close had been renamed to Tristram Drive. There are several new houses facing on to the road so I would assume it avoids problems with the numbering that would otherwise have arisen.
The photo for early February shows more rapid progress and the tower is no longer part of the skyline.
Walking down Victoria Road in late February I saw that Pendragon House only had a few floors left and the tower crane had long gone. It would have made a great picture but I didn't have my camera with me. A couple of days later I looked from the station platform but there was nothing really there to see so final demolition must have been quicker than I anticipated.
Another two days later and this is what remained of Pendragon House. So that is the end of the tower blocks. Meanwhile new houses sit beside the railway line as if the towers had never been there.
Work on finishing the housing continued throughout 2004. A photo above shows looks across where Pendragon House once stood to show the situation in July.
The next phase of redevelopment sees the end of the maisonettes. I believe these are being replaced by four storey blocks of flats. They weren't going to be that high but apparently there is some legislation that has come out of the Mayor of London's office (or thereabouts) that allows building at a considerably higher density than that normally permitted by the borough and those behind the development have quickly exploited this.
It has been a while since I took any photos for this page and in the meantime building continued on the housing on the site of the tower blocks. Meanwhile the maisonettes began to take on a ghostly empty look and demolition eventually began around the end of the year. The photos above show that by late January one block had already gone.
There is the occasional photo still to be added to the site. It looks like most of the first phase of construction is completed with Bedevere Road now open onto Victoria Road and Salisbury Road, just a few yards to the south, now behind hoardings. Demolition of the maisonettes and houses south of Salisbury Road is continuing but construction is underway too on the very south of the site. Here there is a development of one and two bedroom apartments called "Victoria Green". It seems this may extend to cover the whole construction/demolition site and it seems to be pitched as a completely new development rather than as a replacement for the Barbot Estate.
The photos mentioned are presented above. Victoria Green features on a poster on the station platform.
A combination of the trees being in leaf and my usually being in a different position on the platform has meant I've not kept too close tabs on what has been going on but I made a point of grabbing a couple of photos at the end of August. As can be seen construction is going on around the demolition.
I grabbed four photos through and above the hoardings in late September which show that some of the old maisonettes were still in place while construction of the new buildings was underway.
I thought I would break up the page by showing what came before the tower blocks. The above is Barbot Street in 1962 (the source called it Barbot Road but that is an error). Barbot Street and Chauncey Street were developed towards the end of the 19th Century and are clearly visible on the 1894 O.S. Map in approximately the same location as the present Tristram Drive (previously Barbot Close) and Chauncey Close on the same west-east alignment. The map actually says Chauncy without the "e" but the other references to it I have seen spell it Chauncey (as did the person it was named after) so I'll use that until I am told I am wrong.
The 1867 O.S. Map shows Hyde Lane (now Victoria Road) turning east at the north end and then running north to join on to Church Street where the remnants of Cedars Road are now (between the first parade of shops and the solicitors' offices). There is a small lane running to the area of the modern Victoria Road junction which itself was remodelled in the 1930s. This lane was apparently known as Milestone Alley. The 1894 map shows this lane as a much broader road that was presumably now the main thoroughfare. In the 1901 Census the name Victoria Road is in use with Hyde Lane remaining for the L-shaped bit running east and north to Church Street.
Courtesy of the message board and the memories of Debbie's mum, who used to live in Granham Gardens on the west side of Victoria Road in the 1940s/50s, I am a little more enlightened as to how the road layout developed. I am told that after Barbot Street and Chauncey Street came Chamberlain Road, Balfour Road, Salisbury Road, Hartington Road and Cedars Road on the same alignment. Rosebery Road linked them at the east end. This is confirmed by the 1901 Census which mentions all the above roads except for Cedars Road. The 1894 map doesn't show them so they must have built in the last few years of the 19th Century, some twenty years or so after Barbot Street.
The L-shaped bit of Hyde Lane and Cedars Road are one and the same road the name Cedars Road was apparently adopted in 1902. I am told (by Debbie again!) that it had houses with basements and with railings instead of front gardens. Eccleston mentions it specially in terms of near slum conditions. I don't know if the whole estate to Barbot Street and Chauncey Street was equally grotty but it was certainly considered that it wasn't all it might be and combined with the need for more housing capacity it was with the best of intentions that it was demolished to make way for the tower blocks.
Chamberlain Road and Rosebery Road are now the two closes running off Salisbury Road to serve the maisonettes. Salisbury Road must be pretty much in the same place it was before but now turns north to head towards Cedars Road and give access to the last blocks of maisonettes. The Balfour name lives on in Balfour Mews which runs off Bridge Street east of the railway, however I should imagine it has been called that for an awful long time.
The 1894 map shows Barbot Street and Chauncey Street , plus a road at their east end called Beale Street, with a few houses on Hyde Lane itself at the ends of the roads. However there was also some limited development on the west side of the road. Opposite Chauncey Street was West Street which can be seen in 1952 on the left. It obviously dates from at least 1892 (Graham Dalling says his nan was born there in that year) and gained a reputation as a particularly "rough" street. The tall building at the far end must be The Hyde Arms pub looking as it it once had much bigger chimney stacks (I don't know if the dormer windows are still there). Also developed but looking slightly less residential was Maldon Road and that is still the case as it remains just north of the parade of shops shown above right which strike me as being late 1950s or early 1960s. There is at least one more block of flats/maisonettes behind this one and they have been built on the site of West Street, the remants of which must be the access road by the side of the pub. There is a West Close leading to them from the back which doglegs onto West Street's alignment.
I notice that Boudier has recorded The Hyde Arms as early as 1871 which might suggest that the roads shown on the 1894 map had in fact been there from around that time too. There doesn't seem to be a reason to have a pub there otherwise. They wouldn't show on the 1867 map. Perhaps the builders decided it would be to their advantage to build the pub first! Dalling's small book on Edmonton streets confirms West Street under its original name of Coles Avenue existing around 1875 and Barbot Street by 1881. The other streets in the development seem to be occupied by 1902 at latest.
In Kelly's Directory of 1890, all the entries for this area have an address with "The Hyde" following the street name.
The photos above (left and centre) show the terrace of 144-150 Victoria Road. This style of terrace seems to continue round Sunnyside Road North and East rather than along Victoria Road. They are the last houses before the redeveioped area. The question has been asked on the message board as to what sort of house number 156 might have been so I volunteered this terrace as an alternative to the houses in Barbot Street though I favour the former. The style looks similar though there is some difference in detail and I suspect these are bigger and perhaps a smidgen upmarket. They are also probably some thirty years younger as the original roads of the Barbot Estate date from around 1875 or so but Sunnyside Road is more like 1905.
While looking along Victoria Road I thought I'd show the houses that front Victoria Road while the other houses loop round the back as they have a curious tudor influence to the detailing which is particularly pronounced on the ends of terraces.