Just slightly beyond SE23 on Lordship Lane, I’ve often passed this ‘odd’ looking house but never appreciated why it didn’t quite look right. Now IanVisits has written an article about this curious building, explaining some of it’s history and why it’s unique:
A short excerpt:
Opposite a gothic looking church is a gothic looking house — made from concrete. Yes, this is the “concrete house”, constructed in 1873 by Charles Drake, possibly as a family home, possibly for the church as a Vicarage, but the key thing is — it looks gothic but is made from concrete.
Charles Drake had invented a method constructing buildings from concrete using his patented shuttering method using iron rather than wood for forming the building.
The use of iron plates, which were glazed on one side allowed for the casting of tall concrete walls in a method that’s very similar to slip form concrete construction today.
In that, his use of plain iron was both ahead of his time, but also totally unaware (obviously) that wood shuttering of concrete would make a triumphant return in the 1950s and 60s thanks to its ability to impart a pattern onto the concrete.
Drake won a few commissions for his new invention, but not many, and few survive — including a modest gothic house in Forest Hill.
There are more pictures on his page.