We had another commission for a house in Camberwell last week, which is not particularly unusual for us, as it is a part of London packed with wonderful and interesting houses from the early Georgian to the late Victorian period. What was unusual about this project was that we had less than ten days from our initial meeting to completing the finished picture, as it was a surprise birthday present!

We like to allow longer than a month as a rule, to give me time to create the architectural drawing and for Paul to work his magic in the archives and research the history. The draft history will be edited, re-worked, proof read and shown to the client for approval, while I design the perfect layout to display the drawing of house with the text of the history, usually we include a map or a drawing of the entire street in miniature as well.

Queens RowBoth Paul and myself live and work just around the corner from the house in question, in Peckham and Dulwich respectively, so it made surveying the house and researching the history that much easier. It is a beautiful early Georgian building with arched windows on the ground floor and an arched fanlight above the front door; elegant late eighteenth century design at its best. Paul discovered that the house was occupied by the curate of St Giles Church in the 1830s, became home to a series of owners including a delivery man, a boot-maker and a family of teachers and governesses who turned the house into a miniature boarding school in 1901. In 1914 it was owned by a German immigrant who changed his name from Hellstern to Homfray-Jones. From the end of the First World War until the sixties, the house was split into multiple-occupancy with one family who rented rooms since 1955 eventually buying the house in ’61. They stayed for nearly thirty years.

This is just a small amount of the information discovered about the property; our history ran to over 1,200 words in the end. Not a bad week’s work.

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