Langton Way Plaque
Lynsey saw this little plaque in Langton Way recently and asked if I know anything about it, which I don’t, so of course I’m asking you. I can find no reference to the Langton Way Association online – it’s clearly quite an exclusive club – I guess you don’t need a website when you can just call round next door for a cuppa and a war council.
My excuse is that Langton Way is a little off my manor – if you’re not quite sure where it is, it’s that delightful little road that runs parallel with the A2 across Blackheath behind the large heath-fronting ‘Captains’ Houses’ and it crosses the even more delightful Angerstein Lane, home to the Phantom’s Joint Number One Favourite Front Garden.
According to Neil Rhind’s excellent Blackheath & Environs II (more about Neil’s latest work v. soon, BTW) it’s named for Langton House, a 14-roomed place at number 132 Shooter’s Hill Road, built speculatively in 1863
It’s a fantastic, ‘secret’ little country lane, somewhere I always enjoy walking through, though I can begin to understand why it might need an association of its own. I can’t help thinking that it’s a classic victim/victor of the back-garden-conversion trend. It used to be a service lane for the big houses on the heath, and although it did have some commercial uses – by nurserymen and, slightly bizarrely, a stable for polo ponies, it was pretty quiet until the Great War, after which a lot of the big houses were converted into flats.
There are some cute old buildings there, converted coach houses and the like, but they’ve been gradually joined since the 1950s by some rather less cute modern ones and although the lane is still very lovely with the two sorts all jumbled together, as you can see from Joe’s photo below, I can understand why existing residents might not want to see any more back gardens converted.
Neil’s book tells me there was a scheme mooted just after WWII to develop Langton Way into a main, relief -road for the A2 and I am wondering whether the Michael Burton who’s remembered in this plaque may have been at least partially responsible for quashing the proposal. If someone saved Phantom Towers from being demolished for a trunk road, I think I’d probably give them a plaque too.
But in truth, I don’t know. Does anyone else?
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