Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Our House (In The Middle Of Our Street)




We've put it off for far too long. It's been 12 years since we last had Stonecroft's exterior painted and it is looking distinctly shabby around the edges. We've had a decorator out today and, hopefully, weather permitting, before too long we should have a much more respectable looking house.

Stonecroft from the avenue, 1952. Previous photo taken today.

You probably already know our house originally belonged to my maternal Grandparents who, together with Mum, moved there from Birmingham in 1952. When Grandma's Alzheimer's became too advanced for her to continue living independently (she was widowed in 1984) she had to move into a nursing home. Neither of us could bear the thought of someone else owning Stonecroft so Jon and I put our Victorian terraced house up for sale and bought Stonecroft to help fund her care fees. Thinking we'd have months to get the house habitable, our place sold to a cash buyer within an hour of the For Sale board going up. We had to move in six weeks and lived in chaos while we did Stonecroft up ourselves, room by room. We've lived there since May, 2005 and it's still a work in progress.


Built in 1750, Stonecroft was originally three conjoined, single storey labourer's cottages on Snake Farm, land forming part of the Earl of Bradford's estate. Over the centuries the farm vanished and a second storey added to the house (if you look closely, the bricks are completely different) and walls removed to form a single dwelling.


Same wrought iron gates. Me today and my Mum (then a 17 year old girl) in 1959.


Stonecroft is quite odd with its mono pitch roof and single row of rooms, each leading through to the next. Inside the skirting boards are made of limestone, there's no cellar and the attic is just big enough to crawl in.


As I child I remember the house next door being a single dwelling. These days its been divided into sections with a double fronted house at the front and the back sold and divided into four self contained flats. As we have no windows to the side of the house and the doors open up into the garden we rarely see (or hear) our neighbours.



 This is Stonecroft circa 1945. We love the porch surrounding the front door - it would be brilliant for growing tomatoes! As we're in a conservation area we can't change any external feature without seeking permission from the town's planning department but, as we have proof of once having had a porch, we can ask to reinstate it.


Stonecroft in 1954. The porch has gone, the kitchen window replaced by a smaller one and one of the entrances has been bricked up. 

Stonecroft went all Southfork in 1980. My Grandparents had the shutters added in the 1970s. Grandma rescued the glazed Victorian lamp above the front door from the now defunct Highgate Brewery at the end of the avenue, when it was refurbished in the 1960s.

Stonecroft today - with the addition of a fleet of VWs. The windows remain the same (minus the shutters, removed in 2006 as they were beyond repair). We installed the stable door when we moved in but it's knackered now and needs to be replaced.  The chimney pots were taken down in the 1960s although my Grandparents never had central heating installed.


Back in 1966 Grandpa's choice of motor was British and a little more sedate.


Behind those doors are the coal cellar and the garden tool store.


Mum and Dad bringing a newly born me to meet my grandparents in December 1966.


Like mother, like daughter - big hair and an orange dress on the front step. We had those steps rebuilt when we moved in. My Grandpa was a wheelchair user had a concrete ramp installed - it was a nightmare to drill out.


Unlike us, Grandpa was a keen gardener and kept Stonecroft's lawns and borders in immaculate condition.


Same garden but these days the planting is a lot less formal.


See the saddle stones? They're by the front door. 




Groovy dress, Mum! Back in 1969 you could see the rest of avenue from the garden. I'm the one in the long socks. My brother is still camera shy almost half a century later.






No self respecting dove would move into that coop. Look at the state of it! 




Don't ask me what's in that tumbledown shed, we daren't get too close in case it collapses.




Last week's balmy temperatures seem like a dim and distant memory. No chance of doing The Guardian crossword in the garden this week (unless I wear waterproofs and thermal knickers!)





Keep your fingers crossed for a return to good weather - we'll be trading our first festival of the summer in less than 48 hours time!

See you soon.

86 comments:

  1. I love the picture of your mum and dad and your grandads garden is beautiful.
    Is the white handbag you gave me the one your mum is holding outside the gates ?
    It's so nice to have so much history about your home. We loved visiting it, it's like a little oasis hidden behind trees and walls xxx

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    1. Eagle eyes! That Italian handbag is identical but not the same one - unfortunately it was in my dressing up box as a child and got trashed! xxx

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  2. My mom would try very hard to get your yard back to where your Grandpa had it (or close to it). My mom loves being out in the yard. Thanks for sharing the history of your home!

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    1. She's more than welcome to try! We'd feed her! xxx

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  3. Your mum looks beautiful at 17 in front of the gates, what a lovely photo.
    It was so interesting reading about your house and seeing how it has evolved, I love the architecture.
    I couldn't resist finding out what lurks in the shed, who knows what treasures reside there!!
    Wasn't it great bring able to lounge about in the garden, I hope the sun returns soon - definitely in time for your first festival, have fun. xxx

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    1. We really need to get into that shed but it's too tumbledown to try. xxx

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  4. So cool, all the family history! And you were right, BA seems to have gotten their shit together so hopefully my only stress will be over what kind of drink to have on the plane :)

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    1. Hooray! Hopefully you're there and having the time of your lives right now! xxx

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  5. How fantastic to get to know your house history, to see your goovy mum, love her hair, and cute you as a baby.
    It is not until now, that I find a place I love and amd attached to. It has taken me for houses and many years to find it. You are so lucky to know from the beginning .
    Much love , dear Vix

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I've always loved Stonecroft although we're only looking after it, it'll be here long after we've left this planet! xxx

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  6. Thank you for letting us have a peak in to your life. It was a joy seeing it..Coffee is on

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  7. thanks for sharing. How awesome that you live in a house built in the 18th century!260 years old(give or take).

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    1. We often comment when we're visiting National trust properties that they're younger than our house. Mad, isn't it? x

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  8. I love seeing posts like this with loads of old pictures and what an amazing house you have. Gosh I love your Granddad's garden, not that yours isn't nice too but his is gorgoeus.

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    1. Thanks, G! He loved his garden. His stripy lawn was legendary! x

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  9. It's so lovely you have a home with so much history that's been within your family for so long.

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  10. I love a Georgian house! Thank you for showing us your gem of a home, just fabulous!

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post, VM! xxx

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  11. How interesting to hear about Stonecroft over the years and lovely to see the photos of your parents with little you. Hate to think what the paint job will cost...ouch.Xx

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    1. It's eye watering! The downside of living in a white house! xxx

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  12. How interesting to hear about Stonecroft over the years and lovely to see the photos of your parents with little you. Hate to think what the paint job will cost...ouch.Xx

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  13. How magical to live in a home with so much family history, and to have the photos to go with it!

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    1. Thanks, Susie! I keep unearthing more photos! x

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  14. Hi Vix, I love these posts of yours about the history of your home, with the then-and-now pictures. Xxx

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  15. Love seeing pix of your parents! Now we know where you get your good looks! Thanks for the tour of your house and gardens, so beautiful! :)

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  16. vix - this is the most wonderful post!!!!
    you know i love old houses too - and yours is so special being in your family for so long. so much memories and so lovely ones! your mum is such a cool gal - trés chic - anyway if wearing 50s or 60s attire - always the best dresses (in a perfect fit!) and the prettiest shoes - not to mention the gorgeous hair dos....
    and you! "the apple does fall not far away from the tree" (german saying) :-)
    fingers crossed for the festival weather and for that paint job (which needs some dry days too)!
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate! I always love it when you share pictures of your wonderful home and garden, too. xxx

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  17. It is very beautiful. You guys are the right custodians for it - wonderfully respectful. xx

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  18. What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing x

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  19. What a gorgeous home! Wow, your grandpa really had quite the formal garden! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us.
    xox

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  20. I do love social history and there was tons of it there. I was also born in 1966 and I have a picture of me in a very similar pram. What a fab post. thanks x

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    1. Thanks, DS!! Weren't those prams posh? xxx

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  21. What a lovely and fascinating post. I often wish I could have had the chance to buy my maternal grandparents's house, but my parents had to let it go long before I was old enough to even consider it. I love that photo of your parents with you in your pram, and the groovy dress your Mum is wearing in that 1969 photo. xxx

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    1. What a shame. We were lucky with the timing of buying Stonecroft (although the costs of maintaining it are scary!) xxx

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  22. What an interesting post, I enjoyed reading all about the history of your home. It's lovely that it's still in the family! Your mum looks fab, I love her style xx

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! My Mum had some fantastic clothes, sadly I was allowed to dress up in them when i was far too young and they all got trashed! xxx

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  23. such a lovely post-thank you for taking us on a historical tour of your home. I'm relieved to know you won't be climbing ladders and trying to paint it yourselves.

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    1. Thanks, Goody! Painting the house is one job we're definitely be leaving to the professionals, what with my hips and Jon's knees and fear of heights! xxx

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  24. What a lovely house it is, Vix. Full of character and obviously well loved by all who lived in it. The garden is beautiful and I love that it's a little bit wild rather than manicured and formal.

    The pictures of your mum (and the rest of your family) are great - you've clearly inherited your mum's style!

    I had a very similar pram for my eldest child in 1973; I inherited it from a friend, a big Royale pram that I lugged to Walthamstow where we were living; on the tube from the Elephant and Castle!

    I'm loving your green clogs and that fab multicoloured maxi dress...

    The weather is improving - hurray!

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    1. Blimey, imagine carting that pram that size on the bus! The travellers still love those Silver Cross prams, there's a real market for them at the car boot sales. xxx

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  25. Wonderful post Vix! I loved seeing all the then and now photos. And I must say, I LOVE those shutters! There was a house near us when I was little which had shutters and I coveted those!

    Love the pram too, I have a Silver Cross coach built dolls pram which was second hand when I was given it one Christmas xxx

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    1. I loved those shutters, too. I was so disappointed when the painters who did our house last discovered they were completely rotten. I always thought Stonecroft looked like a fairy tale house when I was a little girl.
      Those prams looked the part, didn't they? When my brother was born I had a seat attached to the front of it. xxx

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    2. I love those prams and my dolls pram also has a seat attached to the front!

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  26. What a spectacular home. Can I come visit? Seriously, that is so fantastic that you got to keep the property in the family. Great photos of all your relatives too. I would so wear that polka dress your Mum has on. Such a stylish lady. Now I know where you get your great fashion sense!

    Theresa

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! You'd be most welcome if the van will bring you this far! xxx

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  27. I love seeing your historical photos. It is wonderful you know so much about it too. I do love seeing the change in the garden too. What a beautiful place it was and still is. Yesssssssssssssssssss, to the porch for growing tomatoes- what a great idea! Like an in-house greenhouse!!! xx

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! That's what i was thinking, I could keep the toms safe from the continual onslaught of slugs and not have to both with shoes when I tend them! xxx

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  28. What an amazing history you are living in. All your family memories are there. I'm sure you feel the ghosts of your ancestors there.

    I hope you have an awesome first festival!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne!
      There's all kinds of weird goings on in the house which is odd as I'm a complete sceptic. xxx

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  29. How lovely to have a house with so much family history! I'm intrigued by the notion of limestone skirting boards.

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    1. I'll have to take some photos when I've dusted! xxx

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  30. Fascinating stuff, how wonderful to have a home full of such family history. It's a beautiful place, and the garden is such a great space too. Thanks for sharing these photos xx

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  31. loving this post , Your house is so beautiful, then and now , A Beautiful family home xxx

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    1. Thanks you! You'll have to pop round one day for a tour! xxx

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  32. What an absolutely fascinating collection of photos - it's so interesting to see how the house has changed. And yes, a porch would be a fabulous addition - fingers crossed that you get a thumbs up on that one if you decide to go for it!
    I'm constantly taking photos as we change and improve our house, Andy always asks why I bother, and I always say the same thing - for the future.
    It looks like a fabulous house with an interesting history, no wonder you didn't want to let anyone else move in there!

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    1. It's lovely to have a record of what you've achieved and how much things have changed. Sometimes looking at a photograph makes you see stuff in a more positive light. I was surprised when we were in that interiors magazine, I often just see the piles of junk that need clearing up rather than the bigger picture. xxx

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  33. Vix!! Nothing but love for this post. I so enjoyed reading about your home. How wonderful that you kept it in the family. And look at your with your fabulous legs! Inspires me to get some exercise today! xoxo Lynn

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    1. Thanks, Lynn!!! I love your garden, too. xxx

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  34. Such a lovely cottage and you must be thrilled that you are able to keep it in the family. I would be so happy if I could own my grandparents house. I can imagine how tiny that loft is, our cottage loft is just big enough for the Christmas decs and nothing else!

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    1. Thank you! I think the teeny attic could be an advantage, it discourages Jon from storing even more stuff (as if a coal house and three sheds aren't enough!) xxx

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  35. Thank you so much, Vix, for sharing your home's wonderful history, and letting me in for a wander around the garden. When I read the date it was built I thought, European settlement was still nearly forty years away in Australia, our "historical" homes are not so "historical"! I'm so pleased I have caught up with your amazing posts, hoping you'll be out in the garden again soon, getting in practice for your upcoming holiday. xx

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. Us Brits can get rather complacent being surrounded by so much history. It does kind of blow my mind to visit stately homes and realise that our house has been standing for longer!
      I'm itching to get back in the garden after a few days away, I wish the rain would stop. xxx

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  36. What a wonderful history of a house and garden that you have been so lucky to live in. I enjoyed every photo and story about it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us Vix. Upkeep is expensive where ever you live but so important to look after such a treasure. Look forward to hearing future plans and photos.

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    1. I'm delighted you enjoyed the post, Sally. Yes, the cost of maintaining an old house can be eye watering, we've held out having the exterior repainted for as long as we possibly could but it's looking very shabby now. I just hope the rain stops so the decorators can get cracking. xxx

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  37. How special to live in a house you have known all your life, happy memories.

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    1. We are really lucky, Maureen. Everything fell into place at the right time, especially selling our last house at the height of the property boom. xxx

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  38. So wonderful that you were able to buy Stonecroft, with all its history, including your family history! It is precious. I love seeing old photos, your Mum is a beauty with great sense of style - you definitely are her daughter! I love that you treasure this house and garden, but give it your own twist, I actually prefer your wild informal garden to your Granddad's impeccable one, though I have a lot of respect for such dedicated gardeners.

    Hope you're having a blast at your fair!!

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    1. Thank you, Natalia! People who knew my Grandma often tell me she'd have loved the way the house looks now, which is a lovely thing to hear. xxx

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  39. Stonecroft's evolving structure and style is as fascinating as that of any Stately British Home, Vix. I, too, prefer the more "lived in" look of your colorful garden while still admiring those formal touches such as the gate.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! Formal is nice to admire when we're visiting stately homes but a bit too rigid for "normal" life! xxx

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  40. I love your home and I love how everyone who has lived there has made it their own. Your garden is similar to mine Vix, I cannot do rows of neat and tidy, it has a natural thing going on. Thanks for the old and new photos!!

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    1. That's a huge compliment, Sue, your garden is exactly how I'd love ours to look, eclectic, interesting and somewhere that totally reflects the people who live there. xxx

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  41. What a fantastic history of your home. I also love how 12 years on you're still getting around to doing things to it. We've only lived here almost 3 years and sometimes I'm in a hurry to get everything done, but why? It's not my plan to move on. Your house reflects who you are so well. Xx

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    1. Thanks, Louise! I think a lot of people are unduly influenced by those TV shows where everything's got to be interiors magazine worthy within 6 months of moving into a house. Homes and gardens should evolve organically. xxx

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Love from Vix
xxx