1930’s Marston development
Herondale Avenue Wandsworth Common was part of Marstons first large scale speculative housing development on land leased from Holloway Properties. John and Elsie moved in to number 15 after John James was born in February 1935.
The Magdalen Park Estate built on green fields close to Wandsworth Common was one of 28 jobs on site at the time. The site provided 71 houses forming the new Roads Titchwell, Multon and Burcote.
There was a mix of 3 & 4 bedroom houses still very sought after today. Marstons produced their own sales brochure and mortgages. A four bedroom hoyse was priced at £1,150 while a here bedroom a more modest £950. All houses had an 80 foot garden and a garage. All the houses were sold off plan before building work even started.
John W Marston entered a competition sponsored by the Building Industries Sanding Committee to design an ‘economic house’ as part of the drive to build new homes after the second world war. Marstons won both the Middlesex and Kent division of the competition. The prize being a building permit! The Kent prize started the estate of 54 houses on Barrack Hill in Hythe Kent. The Middlesex permit was withdrawn due to the implementation of the green belt. The special features of the house were fitted cupboards and draft proof wood block floors eliminating the need to buy large pieces of furniture and floor coverings.
Refurbishing homes to rent
Marstons not only built new homes but were also interested in creating new modern homes by converting exiting buildings. Elmar and Wilston Courts were four houses converted in to sixteen flats in 1938 with all modern conveniences of the day including central heating, fitted kitchens, communal gardens and parking. The flats are still very popular rentals owned by the company to this day.
Local authority housing – the boom years
The Victorian Housing stock that made up much of London’s housing was in a sorry state by the 1960’s and much of it was being cleared away by local authorities. Marstons saw that it had value and in an effort to improve the Borough’s housing stock Fulham Council joined Marstons to mount an exhibition in three houses owned by the firm in Hugon Road SW6. Visitors were ushered in to an unmodernised property without a bathroom or heating then led through the adjacent house with modern kitchen, heating and hot and cold running water. Henry Brooke the Conservative Minister for Housing came to inspect.
The decline in local authority funding for public housing at the end of the 1960’s and early 1970’s led to the refurbishment of older properties looking more financially attractive . However the threat of the nationalisation of the building industry during the mid1970’s led to uncertainty and Marstons concentrated on contracting.
The tide was turning, instead of steadily shrinking from the mid 1980’s the London population started to grow and house prices increase. Marstons started to develop housing once more.