Middle Lane 13

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"April Cottage", 13 Middle Lane

Road: Middle Lane

Property: 13, "April Cottage"

No. 13 is one of a pair of 2-storey semi-detached cottages (with no. 15), brick built with stringer courses under pitched slate roof with clay ridge tiles and, originally, a single storey side addition with front door. Now a further 2-storey extension has been built on behind with a further extension abutting no. 11 with a garage and room over, both in keeping with the rest of the cottage. It has a small garden, with brick boundary wall with railings and a space for parking.

A neighbour who has long since left Teddington, Mr Richard Brice of no. 25, did try to accurately date the cottages and went to Kew records office. If my memory serves me correctly he traced them back to 1866 and found an old map that showed the small car park in front of the pedestrian accessed cottages as being a piggery owned by a Mr James.

Richard and Sue Brice had purchased their cottage and the adjoining cottage no. 27 with a sitting tenant before my wife and I purchased no. 13.

We cold called the Brices in order to acquire some sort of idea of building costs, as we intended to extend the property as they were doing, during our purchase negotiations. Both the Brices and ourselves extended the properties to almost doubled their volume with Richard and I keen to maintain period features and original character albeit with a Georgian bent.

Our property was originally tenanted by a Mrs Riddle the landlord being next door this being Mrs Beach who was 87 at the time of purchase. Mrs Beach's husband was originally the council's blacksmith the forge being at the back of his garden which is now the site of no. 20 Park Lane. Rather a long commute to work!

Mr Beach had long passed away when we were purchasing as had Mrs Rivet the tenant and the first item of construction/refurbishment undertaken was the underpinning of the gable wall of the property on our East boundary no. 11 Middle Lane as we wanted to build up to the boundary. This work was carried out by myself and Richard at weekends and Richard part time in the week. Once this work was completed and the existing drains to both nos. 13 and 15 were replaced the refurbishment and extension commenced a proceeded at a reasonable rapid pace.

We have lived happily in the cottage for almost 33 years and have seen many changes to Teddington that was a village in those days to the bustling suburb that it is today.

I know that Richard was desperate to date the cottages in the hope they were late Georgian and not early Victorian but despite through searches to see if any craftsman had left any dated signature or mark none was found in either cottage during refurbishment. All we found in the roof construction was a Dragon's Mouth where the hip rafter frames into the corner of the wall plates. They say that craftsmen use to leave some form of note or record sometimes in a bottle buried under the front entrance but Richard and I unfortunately found nothing other than in the back garden old bottles and shells of shell fish assumed this being the workmen's lunch.

I will send a scanned copy of the black and white photo of the cottage before we started work, a photo of Mrs Beach, Richard Brice helping with the underpinning and an electronic photo of no. 13 as it is today.

We named no. 13, April Cottage.

This page is part of the Directory of Buildings of Townscape Merit (BTMs) and Listed Buildings in Teddington assembled by the Planning and History Groups of The Teddington Society. Click on any photo for a higher resolution version. Copyright for the material on this page rests with the contributor.