Side Steps

Stephen is curious to know why the steps he snapped at Number 15 the Paragon are shaped like this instead of just being straight up and it seems like a good question to me.

They don’t seem to take much less pavement space than regular stright-up jobs, and besides, lack of pavement space isn’t an issue here.

Neil Rhind’s otherwise definitive The Paragon and South Row, Blackheath doesn’t really go into building design, it’s much more a social history – and probably the better for that. What it does tell me though, is that number 15 was the porter’s lodge.  The porter had to do a lot of fetching and carrying of mail, odd jobs around the estate and general inspection. Some were ex-soldiers – a couple became Chelsea Pensioners  - and in the later years they wore a smart livery to run errands etc.

If I were a Phantom Phlunky, with fancy frogged frocking, the last thing I’d want to do is step out of my front door straight into a muddy puddle. It’s my guess these steps doubled as a mounting platform for horse riders.

But maybe someone else has a better idea?


the attachments to this post:

paragon steps stephen low
paragon steps stephen low


5 Comments to “Side Steps”

  1. Stephen says:

    A mounting platform was my intial thought.

    The Paragon has mounting platforms (dimensions about 5ft x 1ft x 1ft) which are at the edge of the pavement.

  2. Benedict says:

    I’ll have mounting platform for 5 as well Phantom.

  3. Neil Rhind says:

    The steps to No 15 were there before Charles Bernard Brown restored the Paragon in the late 1940s. A just post 2nd World War photograph shows them. But there is no evidence to be found on the large scale OS sheets of c1866 and c1896 so we can’t credit Michael Searles with a novel idea in the 1790s. There is a single step cut from a column section on the Paragon lawn which Brown found in the back garden of a house in Blackheath Park. The No 15 flight of steps may have been something similar in the use architectural salvage.

  4. Stephen says:

    Thanks very much for your information Neil.

  5. Geoff3 says:

    I think the step design made it easier to get on a horse.