Alex Coleman BA(Hons) DipArch (Kingston)
Roberto Scalzullo ARB RIBA

House restoration and extension, Ritherdon Road, Balham (2008)


Listed Buildings & ConservationThe Heaver Estate was built by the developer Alfred Heaver c.1890-1910 in a Queen Anne style. Heaver regarded this as his finest estate and it is certainly one of the highest quality areas of late nineteenth century housing and flats in the borough. The detached, semi-detached and terraced red brick houses display decorative detail that was added to elevate their status. A wealth of craftsmanship is displayed in the carved brickwork, distinctive multi-paned doors and windows often containing stained glass, the tessellated tile paths and front gardens enclosed by low walls and decorative cast iron gates and railings. The buildings were constructed on a grid pattern of streets with the houses fronting the streets in long rows. The highest status houses were Tooting Bec Common and the proximity to this large public open space is as important for occupants today as it was when the Estate was first built.

The Heaver Estate Conservation Area was designated on 19 September and extended on 2nd January 1986 and then again on 24th May 1989. The houses in the area represent some of the finest examples of Victorian housing in the borough. Their architectural form, detailing and use of materials, shows the influence of the ‘Queen Anne Style’ popularised by the architect Norman Shaw and it is the retention of these cherished features and their careful restoration that Wandsworth Borough Council aim to conserve and enhance. Houses in this area have benefited from the Conservation Enhancement grants offered by the Council and in particular a project to reproduce original style railings. This has fostered much improvement to appearance of the conservation area with original railings reinstated, and paint removed and sash windows and front doors reinstated.

Three distinctive groups of dwelling types were built in Ritherdon Road between 1890 and 1898. 74 Ritherdon Road falls into that group comprising mainly detached and semi-detached houses and which reflect a Queen Anne style through their gabled frontages. The house’s front facade is in a hand-made red brick laid in Flemish bond and pointed with a flush joint. These bricks are relatively soft as originally they needed to be cut and rubbed to form a tight joint for the gauged arches to windows and porches. Yellow London stock bricks were used for the flank and rear walls. There are Listed Buildings & Conservationgabled projecting bays comprising triple vertical sliding timber sash windows at ground and first floor levels and to the apex of the gable. The triple windows to the bays are narrower with six lights to the upper half of the top sash window. Decorative dentil cornices run across the buildings at eaves level above first floor and above projecting ground floor. A terracotta string course at ground and first floors links window heads. Ornate carved brick motifs to projecting brick bays and porch, and carved brick capitals and keystone to porch are distinctive architectural features. The roof is of natural slate with crested ridge tiles and has double dormer windows with opening casements. Hand-painted stained glass to panelled doors and windows and tessellated tile paths of varying patterns provide a richness of design detail and quality to the front entrance. During the latter part of the twentieth century a number of houses including No.74 were altered with painted, pebbledashed or rendered front elevations, although some have recently been restored. All the streets within the Heaver Estate were unified through the continuity of walls, gates and railings of the same pattern and design and many of these have been reinstated.

Listed Buildings & Conservation

The building footprint of 74 Ritherdon Road is currently 94 sq.m and it occupies a site of 263 sq.m while the proposed extension will increase the footprint to 108 sq.m. Accommodation currently comprises Entrance Hall, Living Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen on the Ground and Lower Ground floors with Master Bedroom, five further bedrooms and two bathrooms arranged over the upper floors.

There are four alterations to the building being proposed:

1. Replacing the current dormer window frame to the bathroom at the front of the property (c.1970s) with the type that was originally fitted at no.74.

2. The demolition of the existing single-storey rear extension which currently serves as a utility room and it’s replacement with a more substantial single-storey extension. This extension will extend back 4.5 metres from the rear of the main building which will align it exactly with the approved rear extension at No. 76. It will span between the boundary with No. 76 and 1 metre from the boundary with No.72 so as to preserve the front to rear access between Nos. 72 and 74 which currently exists. The new extension is to have a partially glazed sloping roof with bi-folding doors in the end wall so as to maximise natural light entering the internal space. The original period features within the existing dining room are to be retained but the space opened up as a whole and circulation between spaces to be improved. The kitchen and utility room are to be re-located and improved, a ground floor cloakroom created, and a new living space formed which will occupy most of the new extension. It is envisaged that the bi-folding doors will be used primarily during the summer months to access the rear garden while the side door will allow quick access during the winter. As with most house extensions, the general principle is to follow the design of the original house in terms of shape, scale, materials of construction and detailing of windows, brickwork and other architectural features.

3. Reinstating the original railings and gate for Ritherdon Road along the front boundary as per the adjacent houses (nos. 72 & 76).

All houses within the Heaver Estate originally had the same type of boundary treatment comprising a low red stock brick wall with reconstituted stone coping surmounted with iron railings. In Ritherdon Road, brick piers were used to define entrances to side accessways but not to define entrances to front doors. Some of the original gates and panels survived being taken away during the last war because they were required to be retained for safety reasons, e.g. to basement areas. In 1989, the Council commissioned the manufacturer Demax Designs to make up patterns for the cast iron components found on the estate. These are now therefore available from them to make up the different types of gates, panels and railings found in the conservation area many of which have now been reinstated, some with grant assistance from the Council. Planning permission is required to erect or demolish any form of boundary treatment to the frontage of houses and at the sides facing onto streets.

4. Removing the render from the front gable at second floor level so as to expose original brickwork underneath.

Listed Buildings & Conservation

In the Heaver Estate Conservation Area, Article 4 Directions are in force. These are additional controls requiring a planning application to be made for work which would otherwise have been allowed under "permitted development". The Council has made two specific Article 4 Directions in the Heaver Estate Conservation Area. The Direction concerning dwelling houses was made on 20 June 1996 and means that planning permission is required to carry out the following alterations to most properties in this conservation area where they would materially affect the external appearance of the property:

  • External alterations to houses which would be visible from the street; i.e. all front elevations and some side and rear elevations; this includes the replacement of windows and doors.
  • Alterations to roofs fronting on to a highway. This includes replacing the roof materials.
  • The erection of walls, gates, fences or other means of enclosure fronting on to a highway. Building walls, fences or gates on front boundaries, which face a road or footpath.

Listed Buildings & Conservation

The Article 4 Directions do not cover rear extensions and permitted development rights still apply to rear extensions to single family houses.

Our client is seeking a grant under the Councils Conservation & Enhancement Grant Scheme which offers financial incentives of 25% to 50% of the 'eligible costs' to owners of historic buildings to reinstate lost features or remove unsightly additions. A number of successful restoration schemes on the Heaver Estate have been carried out with this grant assistance. Anyone is eligible for these grants, but the key criterion is that the work will make a significant impact in conserving and enhancing the special character of an important area or building and they will therefore not cover extensions. Examples of possible grant aided works include:

  • removal of paint, render or pebbledash from a brick elevation;
  • replacement of boundary walls, railings, gates and fences to the original design;
  • reinstatement of original style windows or original roof material. .
Listed Buildings & Conservation



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House restoration and extension - Ritherdon Road - Balham SW17 8QG - Heaver Estate Conservation Area - Queen Anne Style - Heaver Estate architectural - Alfred Heaver - architectural design Balham - planning applications Ritherdon Road - Balham