Open House Festival

Kitchen in the Woods


A Small Studio , 1958

8 Oakfield Gardens, SE19 1HF

Winner of the Urban Oasis awards of Don't Move Improve 2023! with an extension by A Small Studio architects. This is an Austin Vernon & Partners 1957 home that sits within the Dulwich Estate.

Getting there


Gipsy Hill

Additional travel info

This is a 15 minute walk from Crystal Palace overground or a 4 min walk from Gipsy Hill. Bus 3 is the closest bus route.



Accessibility notes

There is only 1 small step into the property . Any visitors with mobility difficulties will be easily helped into the house.



Extract from : On The Street Where You Live - Dulwich Wood Avenue and Oakfield Gardens by Ian McInnes

The Dulwich Development Plan produced in the early 1950s identified this part of the Dulwich Estate as ripe for redevelopment but, a combination of the need to have the London County Council’s agreement to the plan, and the impact of Building Licence controls, meant that there was no opportunity to move forward. In the spring of 1954 Camberwell Council tried to compulsorily purchase several of the sites but it was overruled by the Minister of Housing following a public enquiry. He referred to the evolving Dulwich Development Plan saying that the Dulwich Estate was preparing its own development scheme and it should be allowed to implement it. A preliminary site layout was agreed later in the year but it was not until February 1956 that the Estate Manager and Architect met developer/builder Wates to discuss how the scheme could progress. To speed things up they agreed that a small initial scheme should go ahead while a more comprehensive master plan was prepared. This first phase was on the site of Oakfield, and it was carried out using standard three-bedroom Wates semis designed by the in-house architect’s department - with some input from the estate architect, Austin Vernon & Partners, on the elevations. It was the first Wates development in the area and perhaps it was also a test to see how well the builder and architect could work together and whether Wates would deliver what they promised - the 14 semi-detached houses were completed within a year. By previous Dulwich standards these were very modern houses and, in his description to the Board meeting which approved the scheme, Austin Vernon, the Estate Architect, noted positively that ‘the elevations are designed in the modern contemporary style, which I think are not unattractive and, as the whole of the surrounding lands will be eventually developed with buildings of a somewhat similar kind, these elevations could be permitted’.

Planning consent for a mixed scheme of houses and flats on the site bounded by Dulwich Wood Avenue and Farquhar Road was achieved in January 1957. The first houses, Nos 1-4 Oakfield Gardens (named after the old house formerly across the road), were completed in October 1958 with another five terraces, Nos. 5-9, 10-15, 16-20, 36-38, and 39 - 41 Oakfield Gardens following, the numbering suggests that there were going to be others at a later date on the sites of Nos 22-28. The wide frontage two-story house had an L shaped plan and a large garden and were laid out in short terraces perpendicular to the road. Access to each house was via a footpath leading from the parking area and garage block at the front of the site. The front door was approached via a small courtyard behind a full height metal grille gate. On the other side of the projecting kitchen block there was a ‘back door’ which opened on to a smaller courtyard providing storage space for refuse bins and garden tools. Only in Dulwich would the sales brochure refer to it as a ‘tradesman’s entrance’!

The sites of Nos 36-44 Dulwich Wood Avenue, were not redeveloped until the late 1960s when the site was sold to W & C French. Two new service roads, Hunters’ Meadow and Bell Meadow, with detached houses on either side, were brought into the triangular site and a block of flats built in the acute corner. The detached house types alternated, wide frontage/narrow frontage, but were substantially the same in plan and elevational treatment, with all elevations clad in clay tiles above brickwork.

The final development in the area was in 1975-78 when Wates built two blocks of 12 flats and maisonettes at the southern end of Paxton Green. This was the last development to be built by Wates on the Dulwich Estate before they returned in the 1990s to build the ‘Huf’ houses in Woodyard Lane in Dulwich Village. The old houses on the site (‘Staffa House’ and ‘Iona Lodge’), were demolished in 1969. Planning consent was obtained in 1970 but it took a number of failed agreements with other developers, before Wates took over the scheme in 1975.

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