Country Lanes (4)

Langton Way, SE3

I know – this doesn’t look very lane-y at all – something that Joe agreed when he sent me this pic. And in many ways I don’t really know how to describe Langton Way – it’s not a ‘made’ road (of course by that I mean it’s not properly tarmac-ed, not that it’s been ignored by the Mafia…) it has no footpaths and there’s much greenery involved. It’s also tucked away behind Shooters Hill Road and both ends of it look very countrified. It doesn’t give the impression of a ‘planned’ street, rather a back lane that has grown.

I’m guessing that 99% of the houses/cottages along it used to be people’s back gardens, sold off over the years as building plots. I would also guess any remaining full-length gardens have their days very definitely numbered.

Some of the places were clearly built a long time ago, perhaps they are old outbuildings or small servants’ cottages. Others are much more recent; some are still going up – Joe was most impressed with the local – or perhaps less so – scaffolding company:

N.B. If you’re thinking of calling them, do bear in mind that it’s a Tatooine dialling code and calls may cost more than advertised from a mobile…

Part of what makes the lane charming is the differences in architectural style, ranging from really rather lovely, through cool and innovative to frankly horrid.

It’s a nice walk-through on a sunny day – probably better as a walk than a drive – the road is very uneven. I wouldn’t mind betting that’s exactly how the residents like it – while it’s a truly bumpy ride, it’s never going to be much of a rat-run alternative to the parallel A2.

I like Langton Way well enough, but I can’t help rather wishing it still looked like the neighbour that bisects it. I’m surprised (but delighted) more building hasn’t gone on along Angerstein Lane.

Hell – there are even some original Victorian/Edwardian outbuildings along there, which I hadn’t noticed before as they’re opposite one of my favourite front gardens and I’m usually rubbernecking the other side of the road, but clocked last time I went along there.

Are these carriage houses and/or stables – or, perhaps, early motor vehicle garages? I particularly like the very high arched bit in the middle – a tack room, maybe? Pigeon loft? I’ve no idea, but I love it.

Whatever they are, I’m delighted that they remain more or less as they were built down this leafiest of leafy lanes, quietly reminding us of Greenwich gone by…


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