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Latitude: 51.4312 / 51°25'52"N
Longitude: -0.3041 / 0°18'14"W
OS Eastings: 517993
OS Northings: 171603
OS Grid: TQ179716
Mapcode National: GBR 82.L13
Mapcode Global: VHGR8.P936
Entry Name: Gray Court
Listing Date: 22 December 1998
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1051034
English Heritage Legacy ID: 471928
Location: Richmond upon Thames, London, TW10
District: Richmond upon Thames
Electoral Ward/Division: Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside
Built-Up Area: Richmond upon Thames
Traditional County: Surrey
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: Ham St Andrew
Church of England Diocese: Southwark
TQ 1771 PARKLEYS, HAM COMMON
22/23/10057 Nos.1-12 Gray Court
Block of twelve flats. 1954-6 by Eric Lyons for Bargood Estates Ltd, subsequently Span Developments Ltd; Geoffrey Paulson Townsend developer, G Scroble project architect, Wates builders. Brick end and partition walls, concrete tile hanging and 'Eternit' block. Flat felted roof with brick stacks. Three storeys. 'H'-plan with central entrance to stairwell; each floor has four flats. Entrance front has centrepiece of four fully glazed bays in metal frame, apart from open entrance to right side; the ground floor masked by covered walkway of timber which bears the name of the block. To the sides of these windows are concrete lattice ventilation panels. Rear elevation has as its centrepiece a tripartite composition of concrete lattice ventilation panels. The other windows of timber. Flank walls with continuous horizontal glazing. Main rooms overlook side elevations, of four bays. On the upper floors each group of three windows includes to right two deeper ones with window box, divided at sill level by top opening; the ground floor has a full-length French window instead of the shorter opening. Tile hanging between each storey. Brick end walls have one square window towards centre on each floor. The staircase hall is an impressive space, with paved ground floor, grey terrazzo stairs and landings. Steel balustrade with timber panels. The interiors of flats not inspected. Parkleys is the first, largest and perhaps the most influential of Eric Lyons's schemes for Span. Lyons and Townsend met in the late 1930s and renewed their partnership after war service. They developed a number of small private developments in the south west London and north Surrey borders, until in 1954 Townsend set himself up as a developer and was forced to give up his RIBA membership. This is their first mature work, and their first as Span Developments Ltd. It is on the site of a nursery, and the blocks of flats were carefully laid out so that existing trees were kept, and the nursery stock and its gardener were taken over as part of the development. It is laid out as a series of cul-de-sacs, with the taller blocks as distinctive 'points' in the grid of lower development, set round the edges of the site. The combination of two- and three-storey blocks is distinctive to Parkleys, while that of brick and tile hanging was repeated in subsequently in Span works, particularly at Blackheath. Their mixture of old materials used in a modern manner makes for a particularly humane environment that was much admired. With its concrete patterned panelled, the tall blocks at Parkleys are the most distinctive works by Lyons in the 'contemporary' 1950s idiom. Parkleys was developed for first-time buyers, and Span was one of the first companies to promote the endowment mortgage. It is also the first example of the system of residents' management companies set up by Span which has kept most of their developments in such exceptional condition. Each leaseholder contributes to the funding of paid maintenance staff, and is a member of the management company that runs the estate. Eric Lyons was admired for 'bridging the gap' between speculative work and the creativity most architects of his generation only found in the public sector. 'Twenty years ago he would have been regarded as barely respectable, today he is important. He may even come to be looked back upon as a key figure' (Architectural Review, February 1959). This is now so. The opportunity to work in such a close partnership with a sympathetic developer enabled Lyons to pursue his own ideas in materials, layout and design. Yet the blocks had to be simple, for 'the architect has to design and organise so that buildings can be produced at the same cost as a builder's scheme providing the same accommodation'. So explained Townsend to the Architects' Journal (20 January 1955).
Listing NGR: TQ1799371603
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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