Building the Boythorpe Estate

Following the 1919 Housing Act it was announced that a subsidy would be provided by the Treasury for municipal loss beyond a penny rate. The Act was passed on February 6th: by the end of the month plans had been submitted for approval for 26 houses to be built on St Augustines Road and by the end of the year plans were submitted for the first 120 houses on the Boythorpe estate.

This scheme had been under consideration for some time. At the annual Town Council meeting in November 1917 it was announced that the Corporation proposed to buy 63 ½ acres of land in the Boythorpe area.

It was described as a very good site. In an elevated and healthy position; it faced the south west, and would therefore escape most of the smoke from the industrial works[1]. Within a mile radius, there were the Industrial School, the Grammar School, and Markham’s Works, and it was about two thirds of a mile from the Tube Works and Bryan Donkin’s. For recreation there was Queen’s Park. The Council hoped to get some good cottages of a better type than had been erected in the past. The houses were to have gardens instead of back yards and the Council was aiming to avoid any possibility of the housing turning into slums. Included in the scheme was provision for factory sites and allotments.

However it was not until 1919 that the purchase of the land was completed and plans submitted by Percy Houfton for the layout of the estate. On 18th May 1920 the Town Clerk reported that he had received permission from the Ministry of Health for the borrowing by the Town Council of £27,550 for the construction of 38 non-parlour houses on the Boythorpe Estate, 17,709 for the construction of the streets, and £6,086 for the construction of sewers for the scheme. Work began the same year. By the time the estate was finished in 1929 the estate contained 326 homes, 53 of which were type A (non-parlour, three bedrooms. £872), 243 type B (parlour, 3 bedrooms, £962) and 33 type B4 (parlour, four bedrooms, £1052).

The layout of the main part of the estate to the north of Hunloke Avenue itself was influenced by Bourneville with its central village green, shopping parade and community building in the form of a school, Williiam Rhodes, and local employment opportunities along Goyt Side Road. On January 1st 1919 it was decided that the land should be purchased from the Hunloke and Goodfellow families. Once permission had been received from the District Housing Commissioner, tenders were sought for the layout of the street and sewers in December 1919.

The first roads to be built were Walton Rise and Sycamore Avenue, followed by Hunloke Avenue, Central Avenue and Walton Crescent.

An article in the Architect’s Journal of 3 January1923 described the scheme. The consulting architect was Percy Houfton, who was experienced in the design of estates for the working classes, including Creswell Model Village, and the Borough Surveyor, Vincent Smith, who was responsible for the layout of the roads and sewers. Houfton drew up specimen plans for nine houses. The panel architects, W. M. Ashmore; Bailey Deeping; W. A. Derbyshire; W. Cecil Jackson; Rollinson and Sons; W. H. Wagstaff and Sons and Wilcockson and Cutts, then used these plans to draw up elevations of groups of two, three or four houses. All houses have a uniform pitch of roof, height of eaves, doors and windows, which gives an appearance of unity to the scheme, but with variety in detail.


Houses were provided with gardens and where this was not possible, for example at the corner of Sycamore Avenue and Central Avenue a separate orchard was provided. There were also allotments at the top of Walton Rise and where the housing on Rufford Close now stands.

Some parts of the scheme didn’t happen. Although the open space to the east of the end of Walton Rise remained for some years eventually the land was built on by private builders and there was no continuation of Walton Rise to Walton Road. Nor was Walton Rise extended eastwards to Boythorpe Road across the site now occupied by the schools.

Once the Boythorpe estate had been completed a start was made on the Whitecotes estate but war brought building to a halt. When building recommenced after the war, prefabs and system built houses were built there and a footpath opened linking Grindlow Avenue with Boythorpe Crescent.

Initially a field was left on Hunloke Avenue opposite the school. St Francis church hall was built here in 1955. Most of the allotments made way for Rufford Close which contains houses and three blocks each consisting of six flats. The final buildings were the single-storey old people’s bungalows on the bull ring.


[1] It is actually on a north facing slope but is to the south west of the heavy industry in the town.