The House of Tomorrow?

The Smart Home of Tomorrow in Blackheath. Pathe Films 1957
The film above shows a “house of tomorrow” somewhere in Blackheath. It was filmed by Pathe in 1957. Olly emailed me, asking if anyone knows where it is. Do you? I’d assumed it could be a Span House, but I’m not sure. Click the image to view, and try to ignore the irritating pre-roll advertisements. Terrible website for some great old newsreel clips.


Filed under blackheath, history

9 responses to “The House of Tomorrow?

  1. Mary

    Is it near Brooklands Park?

    It’s good to see the woman doing the housework and cooking. There was no toilet which is worrying.

  2. I think it’s a “T3” house on Foxes Dale (according to my book on Eric Lyons and Span, which shows me up as a bit of a geek I guess). This website has some nice pictures of the exterior

  3. warwick leadlay

    Yes I am sure it is one of the 3/4 Span houses on the right going down Foxes Dale. I moved into Blackheath Oct. 1955(The Paragon), and I well remember looking around the show house. It was illustrated on the cover of House & Garden. At the time I was looking to move from a flat to a house. But its cost was far greater than the value of my flat! I still have the magazine, though I just can’t lay my hands on it now!

  4. Michele O'Brien

    For “The House of Tomorrow” it looks very “Day Before Yesterday”.

    To my mind that post-war style of design has dated horribly. But 50 and more years later that style continues to spoil parts of Blackheath and the surrounding area, including the much vaunted Cator Estate.

    Although it’s offices and not a house, one of the worst examples of the style is that tall, hideous block in the centre of Lee Green.

    Having said all that, the Span houses in Blackheath Park, although roughly in the same sort of “white box” style as the Lee Green monstrosity but of course much lower, are now covered by a protected buildings Conservation Order, I understand. The only thing that saves them from being an absolute eyesore is that they stand back off the road and are fronted by trees.

    In my opinion …

    • Dr Nick

      I wonder what the balance of opinions is about Span (SPAN?) and Span-style houses.

      I love them personally. I grew up in a Span-style house, and I bought one in Blackheath ‘cos I love them so much. The big windows mean light even in winter, the engineering brick between neighbours mean remarkable privacy for terraces (unless the stressed spanning beams happen to transmit the noise…), and the lack of chimney breasts means they’re easier to furnish and have more space. (Although there’s less opportunity for built-in cupboards of course).

      They are very much a design of their time, but I think after going through their “we all think they’re naff” phase in the 80s and 90s, they are indeed a design classic.

      As a taste of the “future” as it was in the 50s and 60s, my house and all my neighbours’ houses originally had hot air heating fitted. Some people still have it. I think that system is a little expensive these days!

      Anyway SPAN houses are a part of Blackheath’s history, whether you like them or not, as (I believe, but am willing to be corrected) the first ever were built in Blackheath.

  5. Span-houses destroying the enviroment! I live since summer last year in Blackheath, studying history. The devastation of Germans in 2nd world war created the building nearby Barcleys building: used for restaurant, beautyshop and library – and, it is done in a similar way of Span-style: not fitting in the enviroment, like boxes, uniform, not mellow. I read about the fight, Mr. Lyons have had against the people in the late 50th who live there, because of building theese box-houses, and demolitioning old buildings. But it is still the same today – architects don´t care and they deny responsibility for their work – everything has to be new, innovating and contrasting – but theese architects live in old, nice, mellow villas!

  6. Anonymous

    This is one of three T3 houses on Foxes Dale and I am lucky enough to live in one of them. The houses are intelligently designed, make clever use of light and space and strike exactly the right balance between the practical and stylish. It is an absolute privilege to live in such a brilliantly designed home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s