Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

Street in Knights­bridge, now an up­mar­ket area of prime cen­tral Lon­don, was then some­where artists, scoundrels and ac­tors gath­ered to drink and net­work

His for­mer apart­ment on Pont Street is now for sale. It’s within a Dutch­style prop­erty built in 1876, and de­signed by CW Stephens, who also cre­ated the world-fa­mous Har­rods.

Wilde’s old pied-a-terre in­cludes an open-plan re­cep­tion room, three bed­rooms with en-suite bath­rooms, its own lift, a din­ing hall, kitchen and a ter­race. There has been much de­bate in re­cent months about the need to build af­ford­able homes to solve the UK’s grow­ing hous­ing short­age as, year af­ter year, we fail to build enough homes to meet de­mand.

But there was a time when a small band of en­trepreneurs, vi­sion­ar­ies and builders banded to­gether af­ter WWII to do just that and built thou­sands of stylish homes de­signed and built so that or­di­nary Bri­tons could af­ford them. Called Span houses, they were the brain­child of Eric Lyons and Ge­of­frey Townsend, and ex­am­ples of their de­vel­op­ments can be seen all over the south of Eng­land.

They started build­ing in earnest dur­ing the 1950s and their prop­er­ties were rad­i­cal for their time. De­signed to be mod­ernist but blend in with their sub­ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments, Lyons and Townsend wanted to build af­ford­able fam­ily homes with gar­dens for first-time buy­ers. The prop­er­ties in­cluded mod­u­lar de­signs, low-cost con­struc­tion meth­ods and re­quired buy­ers to join a res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion and get in­volved in main­tain­ing the es­tates.

If you’d like a piece of this utopian world, then a four-bed­room ex­am­ple is cur­rently for sale at Mal­lard Place in Twick­en­ham, one of the last Span de­vel­op­ments to be com­pleted, in 1984.

This four-bed­room house over­look­ing the River Thames comes with its own boat moor­ing and is for sale via River Homes (020 8977 4500) for £1.35 mil­lion.

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