|Woodcote Village Green, Upper Woodcote Model Village||Croydon|
Woodcote Village Green was laid out in 1903 as the focal point for the Upper Woodcote Model Village within the Webb Estate, a high-class residential development by estate agent and horticulturalist William Webb. The Green was provided with whipping post and stocks, a see-saw, pond with flock of geese opposite the smithy shaded by a chestnut tree. The Lord Robert, a Temperance Inn and General Stores opened in 1907. There was an estate blacksmith from 1904-1914 but the smithy, pond and geese are now gone although the stocks remain. A War memorial is located near the Lord Robert. The Green is overlooked by 9 mainly half-timbered houses, intended by Webb for occupation by workmen on the estate.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2008
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Woodcote Village Green is a designed village green that was laid out in 1903, the focal point for the Upper Woodcote Model Village within the Webb Estate (q.v.), a high-class residential development. The estate was laid out and partly designed from 1888 onwards by William Webb (1862-1930), a Croydon chartered surveyor and estate agent, who was a keen horticulturist and who called it the 'Garden First' system: 'The name Garden First means that the garden shall not only have prominence but that partial garden construction shall be carried out before any buildings are erected ...the house is but the complement of the garden in a general survey of the estate' (William Webb, 'Garden First in Land Development', 1919).
The Green and surroundings were first to be laid out, after which the rest of the estate was gradually built when the landscape had begun to mature, generally with a specific planting scheme incorporated. The Green is overlooked by nine mainly half-timbered houses, intended by Webb for occupation by workmen but few of his employees moved in and according to a report in the local paper: 'the houses rejected by workmen at 10s. 0d. per week are now being clamoured for by bank managers, stockbrokers, and others at from £30 to £35 per annum.' The Green was laid out with a whipping post, stocks and see-saw, and a flock of geese was installed on a pond in the south-west corner opposite the smithy and the Lord Robert, a Temperance Inn and General Stores that opened in 1907. There was an estate blacksmith from 1904-1914 who fashioned much of the metalwork on the estate, including the gates for Rose Walk, Silver Lane and South Border as well as window sashes and strap hinges. A 25-year old chestnut tree was also transported onto the Green to shade the door of the forge.
Planting on the green was restricted to thorn, birch on rough grass, but there are specimen trees in private gardens around the green, which dominate the skyline, notably cedars and Sequoiadendron. The smithy, pond and geese are no longer here and the forge now forms part of a private residence called the Smithy. A War memorial of unpolished granite is located near the Lord Robert. Street lighting encircling the Green is in the form of pendant lanterns supported by stained wooden posts. Over the years as posts have rotted they have been replaced with posts as similar as possible to the originals.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 2: South (1983) p235; Andrew Saint (introduction), 'London Suburbs', Merrell Holberton Publishers 1999; Vanda Bouri 'A Century of Garden First'; William Webb 'Garden First', 1919; Map of 1894 in LB Croydon, 'Local List of Historic Parks & Gardens', December 2008; Sally Williams, ''Some Appendages to the City': A look at three of London's less well known Garden Suburbs', The London Gardener, vol.14, 2008-09.