The Payne and Trapps Estate - The Development of North Hartley

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On 1 November 1905 John Charles Payne and George Trapps bought a block of land (122 acres) from the then owner of Fairby, Thomas Morton. This was land to the north of Church Road and east of Ash Road. They laid out the roads Woodlands Avenue, Gresham Avenue, Larksfield (formerly Silverdale), Wellfield (formerly Haverstock Drive), Porchester Avenue and Merton Avenue. Porchester Avenue was where the Wellfield Estate is now and is commemorated in Porchester Crescent, although this is in a different location.

They then laid out the estate into 25 feet wide parcels which were sold off at auction (click on the link for a map of the southern part of the estate - 300kb file size). A Hartley resident at the time recalled that they set up a tent, got a load of people down from London, plied them with drink and then sold them the plots! Certainly most of the known purchasers came from London:

Jabez Horne of Upper Norwood (bought 10 plots in 2 blocks)
Thomas Rodwell (bought 16 plots in 4 blocks)
Charles Henry Dobell of Brixton (bought at least 26 plots in 3 blocks)
Edward Matthews of Walworth (1 plot in Larksfield)
William Kirby of Newington (6 plots in Merton Avenue)
Edwin Sable of North Kensington (8 plots in 3 blocks)
A Blackwell of Caledonian Road, London N (1 plot in Porchester Crescent)
W T Baggs of Acton and JJ Baggs of North Kensington (1 plot in Porchester Crescent)

The purchasers were told that the tithe rentcharge had been redeemed, which was not the case and in the 1920s the few people who could be traced were faced with demands for all the tithe on all 122 acres.

Clearly many of the purchasers had little idea what to do about their plots and evidence of their ownership was lost. Even by 1913 when the Valuation Office tried to find out the owners of all property in the country, they could not find out who owned 529 of the 640 plots, although it is possible the true numbers of unknown owners was much less. Some of the owners could not be traced when compulsory purchase orders were served on parts of the estate in the 1960s.

Only a handful of houses were built by the first owners - Grafton House and Amberley (Ash Road); Bertha Villa and Colyton (Wellfield); Nil Desperandum (Merton Avenue); The Elms (Church Road). And before the war only the frontages to Church Road and Ash Road were developed. The remaining land lay unused and was requisitioned by the War Agricultural Executive, one newspaper article mentions grain and wheat being grown there.

Payne Trapps & Co Ltd

This company was founded by auctioneers John Charles Payne and George Trapps. After running the business as a partnership, they set up a company of the same name in 1909. On 17 May 1909 they transferred the interest of the partnership to the company. The conveyance shows that they had many similar estates around southern England at:

The company had 4,000 preference shares, originally shared equally between Mr Payne and Mr Trapps. But very quickly Mr Trapps transferred his shares to J G Hammond & Co Ltd of Birmingham, printers; and Lepard & Smith Ltd of London, paper makers. Meanwhile Mr Payne had transferred 500 shares each to his wife Catherine, and daughters Catherine and Alice; and later 350 shares to a Josephine Lenora Hurst of Rosalind, First Avenue, Westcliff. The 7 ordinary shares were owned one each by:

The company went into receivership on 17 August 1912.