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The Paragon Greenwich
Summary: The Paragon is a crescent of Georgian houses linked by colonnades, designed by architect Michael Searles. The houses are fronted by a private roadway and crescent-shaped communal garden, which was provided for the private use of the residents. Abutting the public open land of Blackheath, this remains as a private semi-circular lawn, gently mounded in the centre, with a scattering of trees and shrubs, including two notable mature horse chestnuts.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: The Paragon/South Row, Blackheath
Postcode: SE3 > Google Map
Type of site: Private Garden
Date(s): 1794-1807
Listed structures: LBI: Nos.1-14 The Paragon; Paragon Cottage & Paragon Lodge. LBII*: No.1 (Paragon House).
Borough: Greenwich
Site ownership: private
Site management:
Open to public? No
Opening times: private, visible from South Row
Special conditions:
Public transport: Rail: Blackheath. Bus 89, 108
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2007
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

The Paragon comprises a crescent of six pairs of semi-detached houses and a central house, linked by Tuscan colonnades, fronted by an area of communal garden abutting Blackheath. The development is important in the history of suburban residential development of the late C18th/early C19th. The Paragon was built between 1794-1807 by Michael Searles (1751-1813), son of a Greenwich surveyor, who was surveyor to the Rolls Estate. He was responsible for a number of fine building schemes that have been described as 'unusually elegant and ambitious' (Pevsner), many of which were in south London although only some survive, including Gloucester Circus (q.v.) in Greenwich. Searles had already built a smaller Paragon scheme in Old Kent Road, but this has since been demolished, the name only recalled in a strip of public gardens, Paragon Gardens (q.v.). The crescent of The Paragon is fronted by a private roadway and crescent-shaped garden for the use of residents. In 1928 the garden was owned by Henry John Cator and lessees of the houses paid a rate for the upkeep of both garden and road, the maintenance overseen by a Committee of lessees and residents. At that time the garden was described as 'a rough grass plot, enclosed by posts and rails and containing some well-grown trees.' It remains as a private semi-circular lawn, gently mounded in the centre, with a scattering of trees and shrubs, including two notable mature horse chestnuts.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999, p423; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928
Grid ref: TQ400763
Size in hectares: 0.62
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Blackheath
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: Yes - Area of Special Character of Metropolitan Importance
Other LA designation:

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