Royal Hill Lovelies (1)

Old China has flagged up something I’ve wondered about myself for some time – some really rather curious windows in one of the houses along Royal Hill.

The ground floor of Number 80, Royal Hill, next door but one to Royal Teas, looks pretty normal, really. It has a pair of tiny square-shaped bay windows, which may or may not be original – it’s such an odd little house I’ll believe they are – but from there on up it starts to look incongruous.
A pair of fanciful windows, set into a large amount of baby-pink painted frontage. It’s something that really needs to be seen in the context of the street to ‘get’ how quaintly peculiar this looks, but the pic gives you something to look out for. It’s the windows of a palace on a terribly sweet little terraced cottage.

The windows look splendidly Regency – they wouldn’t look out of place in the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. But these are in the middle of a side street in Greenwich. It’s almost as though the builder (who may or may not have been the road’s overall developer Robert Royal – the street’s named for him, rather than for any connection with the Crown; I guess residents are thanking their lucky stars he wasn’t called Boggs…) had a set of fancy windows left over from another job, thought “they’ll do,” despite the fact that they didn’t really go with the rest of the street’s style and popped ‘em in anyway. “Bish-bosh. Tidy job…”

But that’s what makes a Royal Hill Lovely. It’s not a single style of regimented houses – though of course there are one or two ‘rows’ of matching buildings – but a lovely mish-mash of flavours, each of which has its own charm and adds to the whole. There’s not another house in Greenwich that looks like Number 80 – and it’s all the cuter for it.

According to Darryl Spurgeon – his Discover Greenwich and Charlton is out of print, but turns up on a relatively frequent basis and is a fine (if mildly confusingly formatted) overview of Greenwich history – the terrace was built in 1831 as part of the Hyde Vale Estate, but I know nothing more than that. If anyone’s a client of the Osteopath who’s currently occupying Number 80, I’d love to know some more about it.

More lovely houses to come…


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