Hallgate, London SE3
‘Span’ flat in Grade II listed Hallgate, which forms part of the Cator Estate
Architect: Eric Lyons
Year built: 1950s
My interminable search for a modernist property, which has now been going on since June 2015, brought me to yet another Span development, this time in Blackheath.
Hallgate is a Span development of flats forming part of the Cator Estate: accessed via Blackheath Park, a wide and tree-lined private drive, it feels tranquil and removed from the main roads, traffic and any commercial activity. Hallgate shares many features with Parkleys in Ham including those elegant, open porches, wide rectangular windows and flat roofs but the choice of materials and colour palette (white cladding, sand-coloured brick and grey slate) gives Hallgate a less aggressively retro, more timeless appearance.
Further distinctive Span housing lies behind Hallgate along The Hall, a snaking road lined with rows of neat, boxy two-storey houses, which looked almost exactly like the Span houses that I visited in Teddington and a further cluster of flat-roofed apartment blocks arranged around a communal green, which looked like those in Parkleys except these had a striking, rather curious grey-and-green colour scheme. The communal grounds are typical for a Span development: lushly planted and well maintained, thanks to an astronomical service charge.
Unfortunately, although I liked the setting and the development’s exterior, I found the Hallgate flat itself rather disappointing. Whilst the living room and appended dining area room had a pleasant outlook onto the estate and was positioned to catch plenty of light, the bedrooms were small (the second bedroom was particularly box-like) and the kitchen, bathroom and decor in general were all a bit 2001. Creaky timber-framed windows aside, which have to be retained for Grade-listing purposes, I don’t think I saw a single remaining original feature.
Another downside was the price. It was right at the top end of my budget and paying that amount would have meant having to live in the early-noughties timewarp until I’d saved enough to restore it to its former glory. I decided pretty quickly that I wouldn’t be making an offer and it was snapped up the next day in any event.