Roads of Hartley
Round Ash Way (DA3 8BT); Oast Way (DA3 8BU);
Conifer Avenue (DA3 8BX)
These three roads were built in two phases on land that was formerly part of Fairby Grange. All the road names are fairly explanatory, although Round Ash Way has lost the Ash tree on the green which gives it its name. Originally the houses were named, but in 1973 the roads were numbered at the request of the residents to make it easier for public services.
Round Ash Way has 26 detached houses, leading to the Primary School, while another dozen detached houses make up Conifer Avenue. However Oast Way is a little different with 6 detached houses and 8 bungalows in pairs joined by their garages.
From the earliest the land that underlies Round Ash Way belonged to Fairby Farm, in the 19th century it was pasture land called Upper Meadow and Lower Meadow (numbers 22-30 (even) overlie Upper Meadow, the rest of the road was once Lower Meadow). When Alfred Salter bought Fairby and the remaining 13 acres of grounds in 1917, he turned the house into a nursing home for mothers and babies, while the grounds became a nursery too - of trees and flowers to beautify his borough of Bermondsey. According to Fenner Brockway ("The Bermondsey Story") "One of his first actions after Labour secured a majority in 1922 was to present it to the borough council for two purposes: the building and the gardens were to be used to rehabilitate the lives of mothers and children after childbirth or illness, the estate was to be used to grow trees and flowers for the beautification of Bermondsey. Mr W H Johns, the Borough Gardens Superintendent, soon got to work plaing striplings of elms, poplars, planes and acacias in long rows, and within a year they were being transplanted to the streets of Bermondsey". Local people in Bermondsey were also offered bulbs from Fairby to make their own window boxes.
During the last war the land that would become Round Ash Way was mainly growing vegetables, with 2 acres of grassland being ploughed up for the first time in 1941. The War Agricultual Executive was impressed with the management, giving a grade A status.
When Fairby Grange was being sold by Bermondsey Council, a number of prospective purchasers applied for planning permission to see what the council's attidude would be (applications 54/339 and 55/80), as well as the eventual purchaser - Ron Billings. He applied in 1957 for what would become Round Ash Way, Conifer Avenue and Oast Way (application 57/258). It was a complicated application, with negotiations about mains drainage and the siting of the school to be settled before building could take place. The roads might have looked very different too - a 1961 draft shows 28 houses in Round Ash Way and no "round ash" at all; instead there would have been a grass verge in front of the even numbers. In addition Conifer Avenue would not have carried on to Fairby Lane. The conveyance of the school site (29 November 1963) shows a very different Oast Way, which would have joined Fairby Lane, instead of Conifer Avenue.