Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Homes Under the Hammer - it's a wild Catford

BBC show 'Homes Under the Hammer' this week featured a house up for auction in Catford, to be precise on the Corbett Estate. They mentioned that the Estate was developed by a Quaker, as indeed once explained at Walking Hither Green:

'The eastern half of SE6 is all about the Corbett Estate. The street plan leaps out from the A-Z for its rigid grid pattern, a rare feature in south-east London...The estate was the dream scheme of Scottish MP Archibald Corbett, who had the notion of providing "a modern Hygeia" for hard-working and respectable families. The area would be littered with places of worship but not a single inn or tavern, and the 300 acres he purchased for the plan in 1896 are now full of north-of-the-border place names'.

More surprizing to me was the statement on the programme that Catford had been the home to Ben Elton, Spike Milligan and Cat Stevens. I knew about the first two but hadn't heard about the latter. A quick Google search suggests that the programme was relying on wikipedia, with the Catford entry stating that  Cat Stevens 'lived in a flat above a Catford furniture shop in the early sixties'. I can't find any other sources for that, but for now we'll take it. Stevens was born in 1948, and grew up in Soho (his family ran a restaurant in Shaftesbury Avenue), so if he did live in Catford it was presumably for a brief period in his early career. But if true it would mean that he once lived in the same borough as Lewisham-born reggae singer Maxi Priest, who had a big hit in 1989 with a cover of Stevens' Wild World. Priest went to the now closed Roger Manwood School in Brockley Rise, as did footballer David Rocastle.

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