The changing landscape
These pictures of Southwell Road show the changing landscape over a period of around 50 years.
The fourth photo on this page was probably taken in the early 70s and you can clearly see there was very little housing in the area at that time.
In the mid 1970s much of the land was sold and new houses were built. Today, Southwell Road is lined by houses from its junction with Hill Road, along the whole length until the junction with Mount Road.
Since publication of this page we have been contacted by a reader of the site, Martin Pachy, with the following comments.
I was looking at the Southwell Road page (I used to live in one of the houses in the photos) and noticed that two of the photos marked as being from different eras were in fact taken on the same day in either 1971 or 1972. I have stitched them together to make a composite.
I remember as a kid, the view from our house consisted of a hillside covered in thorn trees and thick bush that went all the way up to Hill Road (our house is the bungalow on the left of your father’s picture). The only houses we could see were the Rowlands (my friend Mark Goldhawk’s house), Foxbar (our neighbours the Elliotts in the dip of Southwell) and the big house next door to Jean Kates’ house in Hill Road (we could just see the top of Jean’s house too).
I spent much of my childhood in the woods, usually in the Glen. I used to go hunting with my dad (times were hard then!). We’d often have duck or pigeon for dinner. We’d go fishing too, at the pond – in the days when there were fish in it!
I didn’t know many people from the “top” part of Mount Road. With the Glen in between, the top and bottom dwellers tended to live apart. We knew the badger man of course and often walked past the house on the right as you go up where there seemed to be two dozen kids!
As a kid, the Devil Steps were always a bit of a mystery, but the woods in that area were full of wildlife if you were quiet enough.
I have talked about the website to my sister and we are going to dig out some photos to add to the archive.
Congratulations on the website and I look forward to participating more in the future.
In August 2016 Martin sent us another two photos along with his comments below.
Here’s a couple of pics from the same era, 1971 – 1972.
The first (a bit hazy) picture is taken from our front room at 41 Mount Road, looking south over Southwell Road towards the golf course and the Thames Estuary. It was taken in about 1971 just as the work was beginning to build the 6 houses that would occupy the bungalow plot on the corner of Southwell and Mount Road. The first building supplies have been delivered to the garden next door. The houses you can see on the south side of Southwell still exist as far as I know.
The second is looking west from 41 Mount Road (the bungalow on the left of Harry Emery’s top photo) across to Hill Road. Again, work is starting to build the estate that covered the Hill. The houses on the crest are in Hill Road, the path to the Devil Steps can be seen going off to the right about 1/4 of the way up the hill. The bit of roof you can see bottom left is “Foxbar” in Southwell Road.
It’s interesting that (if I remember correctly) the hillside was first cleared in the 60s and then left to grow back. The clearance work going on in the photo was prior to the construction of the houses on the hill.