Two survivors from changes down Ivy Lane
The first of the above pictures is a reproduction of a watercolour, undertaken by EA Phipson around 1880. It shows a long row of ancient cottages on the south side of Ivy Lane, that stretches right down to the narrow junction into Lower Chantry Lane.
This amazing image includes two 14th century Wealden Hall-style houses, albeit long since subdivided and adapted into small, separate tenements.
A Wealden Hall house is entirely timber-framed and would have had a central ‘hall’ section that rose to the height of the roof.
It was here that a central hearth would have been positioned, with a small opening in the roof above to left the smoke out.
The flanking wings would have been of the conventional two-storey layout.
A photograph, from 1910, shows that the lane had not altered since the Victorian watercolour. However, changes occurred shortly thereafter.
One of the Wealden Hall houses (the one furthest from the artist) and other adjacent properties, perished in about 1915, to be replaced by a row of brick-built cottages.
Other houses, at the Lower Chantry Lane end, were lost in the 1942 Blitz.
The surviving Wealden Hall was renovated several times during the 20th century but, by the end of the 1950s was being threatened with demolition once more.
Luckily, in stepped Anthony Swaine, who painstakingly restored the building, so that it now closely resembles its original appearance externally. The restored house can be seen in the second photo, which dates from 1997.
The smaller house nearest the camera has also survived from the 1880 watercolour.
First image is a reproduction of a waterclour by EA Phipson of Ivy Lane, as it was in 1880; right, two of the surviving properties in 1997