Houses on the Glebe Estate were all built between 1871 and 1901 on glebe (i.e. church) land.  The land was originally a barley field assigned to St. Nicholas Church as part of the incumbent's benefice, but in 1869 the church decided to lease the land for development.  An indenture drawn up on the first day of May 1869 shows that the Reverend Dale, Vicar of St. Nicholas Church, acting as lessor, assigned the lease on the field to Alexander Fraser, George Reckitt, Joseph Quick and his son, also called Joseph.  Fraser Street, Reckitt Road, Quick Road and Dale street take their names from the foregoing gentlemen.  The Binns Road name comes from a local solicitor and developer and, of course, Devonshire Road and Duke Road are in recognition of the Duke of Devonshire.

The homes were designed to be light and healthy.  They consciously imitated larger, more expensive houses with features including cottage-like rustic canopies, red brick decoration, stone lintels, classical carvings and motifs from nature.  They were built in terraces of between 6 and 20 houses.  Although there are several different styles of architecture, there are some common features.  All were built in plain brick with slate roofs and sash windows with one wooden glazing bar.  Window frames and doors were originally painted brown or dark green.  Front doors had two frosted glass panels, a black knocker and letterbox.  Pathways were tiled in red and pale navy, and iron railings and hedges separated one house from the next.  The front gate was iron, with a star design.

In 1881, the average Glebe Estate home housed between 5 and 7 people.  Many families had boarders.  The first residents were young families, and skilled or semi-skilled labourers.  Most had come from outside London.  The most popular trade was carpenter/joiner.  Many of the residents worked in the large local firms such as Thorneycroft the Shipbuilder, Fullers Brewery and Cherry Blossom Boot Polish.  Many of the women worked as laundresses and dressmakers.

By the 1890s the Estate had its own school (now Glebe Terrace and Binns Terrace), hotel and pub, shops, Mission Hall, stables and even a slaughterhouse

In the 1950's the Ecclesiastical Commissioners began to sell off freeholds and, over the succeeding years, more and more homes became privately owned.  This led to increased gentrification of the area.  Over the years, bathrooms have been added, walls knocked down, spacious rear kitchens and loft extensions built, brickwork painted and front gardens given new walls, fences and gates.

The Glebe Estate is a fascinating example of our social, industrial and architectural history.  In spite of decades of change and home improvement, the estate still retains a sense of character and uniformity.


A longer article on the Early History of the Glebe Estate can be found in the Members Area of the web site available to members only after logging in.