Kidbrooke Farm 1930s

Kidbrooke Farm 1930s

It seems that Kidbrooke has been a building site for over sixty years. Following the Second World War the marshy farmland of Kidbrooke was the site of a massive house building programme. The first phase of which was aimed at the well off as a three bedroom semi cost £2,750. In the same period a five bedroom period property in Ulundi Road Blackheath cost £1650. There’s nothing so fickle as taste and the same properties today sell at £465,000 and £1.2 million respectively.  Social Housing was provided at The Ferrier Estate but this came later in the 1960s. It has since been demolished to make way for the Kidbrooke Village development with apartments starting at £300k, so not that affordable.

Today you can alight at Kidbrooke Station and enter the swish surroundings of Berkeley Homes Marketing Suite. Back in 1953 the Estate Agents was still found close to the station but a rather more modest affair.

Estate Agents Kidbrooke 1954

Estate Agents Kidbrooke 1954

In the midst of the 1950s estate the London County Council built the first purpose built comprehensive school which opened in 1954 some ten years before the national system. It was one of the few “experimental” comprehensive schools opened in largely Labour controlled authorities. By 1958 there were only 46 such schools nationally. The 50s/60s were the belle epoch of British social mobility and popular opinion was behind the comprehensive system. The grammar school system was seen as devisive and as they only educated 4% of the population did not provide enough places to meet the requirements of the expanding middle classes.  The comprehensive was expected to have great appeal and a new bus route, the number 70, from Victoria to Eltham,  operating four buses an hour, was introduced so that children outside the neighbourhood could enrol at the school.

Kidbrooke Comprehensive

Kidbrooke Comprehensive

Sixty years on and social mobility has seized up, there is a widening gap between the richest and poorest. In attempts to fix the system some look to change the structures of schools introducing unaccountable Academies.  The local Conservative candidate for the area wants to bring back grammar schools. It cannot be denied that in the post war period the grammar schools churned out thousands of  elevated working class kids but the economy had the salaried jobs for them. Today, we have record numbers in low paid jobs and the threat of 10 million jobs being  made redundant by digital technologies so focussing on the school system alone looks rather futile.

 

Advertisements