The Schooner Estate

In 1861, the Metropolitan Board of Works gave permission to W. Cubitt & Co. to construct three roads off Manchester Road: Barque Street, Ship Street and Brig Street (spot the nautical theme).

1890. Wharf Road was later renamed Saunders Ness Road, and Newcastle Street became Glengarnock Avenue. Johnson Street, just in view on the left, is now part of Ferry Street.

Circa 1930. Looking from Saunders Ness Road down Ship Street, across Manchester Road, and as far as the bend in the street just before it met Stebondale Street. Photo: Island History Trust

This section of Manchester Road was occupied by many shops.

1913. Manchester Road at its corner with Stebondale Street on the left and Barque Street on the right.

Compare the previous photo with a modern view – only Christ Church still survives.

On the left is the Schooner Estate, built in the 1960s on a triangle of land bounded by Manchester Road, Glengarnock Avenue and Stebondale Street. On the right, George Green’s School. The houses and shops here got off lightly during WWII, which can’t be said for other buildings in the area.

Circa 1949

Circa 1949. Ship Street was renamed Schooner Street in the late 1930s. The detached buildings are prefabs.

The buildings on the south side of Manchester Road were all demolished in the 1970s to make room for George Green’s School. Those north of the road had been cleared a couple of decades earlier to make room for the Schooner Estate

1960s. A montage of two photos taken from Coleman’s shop in Manchester Road (next to the police station). It shows the demolition and clearance taking place. The prefabs in the background are in Glengarnock Avenue. Photo courtesy of Christine Coleman.

Present-day equivalent of previous view.

Survey of London:

[The Schooner Estate] was designed by the LCC Architect’s department and erected by Rush & Tompkins, of Sidcup, at a total estimated cost of £517,000. The first part was completed in 1963 and consisted of Galleon House, Capstan House and Nos 19–41 (odd) Glengarnock Avenue/Nos 139–149 (odd) Manchester Road. The remaining part, completed in 1965, comprised Carvel, Clipper and Frigate Houses.

Architectural model of the Schooner Estate

Photo of estate plan taken decades later by Con Maloney.

Also according to the Survey of London:

The layout of the new development was designed to relate to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, on the opposite side of the river, and special attention was allegedly given to the colour and architectural treatment of Galleon House.

Do I detect a hint of scepticism there?

1963. Queenie Watts walking up Schooner Street. Behind her can be seen the rears of shops and houses in Manchester Road and the construction of Galleon House. Image is a screenshot from the documentary film, Portrait of Queenie.

The previous and following image are the only ones I have of the construction of the Schooner Estate (and the following is very blurred). Actually, there seem to be very few photos of the construction of any of the 1960s housing estates on the Island. I am sure there are some buried away in council archives, but clearly Islanders didn’t think it worth taking photos of these new estates.

1963. The construction of Capstan House seen from Millwall Park. This L-shaped building was originally a block of old people’s flats.

Once the estate was finished, however, the LCC took some photos of the results. The following few photos – unless the caption says otherwise – are from the London Metropolitan Archives.

There’s a ghostly figure in this photo – a double exposure?

Photo: Rosina Smith

The fence on the left was constructed when the prefabs along Stebondale Street were demolished in the 1970s. Source of photo unknown

I lived close by and was quite young when these photos were taken. The estate was a great place to play: it had grass, fences and walls to jump over, flat roofs to climb up on to, and there was the little playground under Galleon House (which is just in view on the right in the following photo).

The noise of kids playing football in there, or running up and down the stairs and messing about in the lifts and cages must have driven the residents up the wall (the cages were lock-ups situated on every other floor, where residents could store belongings which didn’t belong or fit in their flat).

See the end of this article for a list of some of the first residents of the estate, by the way.

1970s. Photo: Pat Jarvis

Circa 1974. Schooner Estate on the left, and construction of George Green’s School on the right.


1977. Silver Jubilee party. Photo: Pat Jarvis.

Circa 1978. Photo Mick Lemmerman

Estimated approx. 1990. Source unknown.

Circa 1990. Angie Lemmerman and Margaret Hook in Millwall Park. In the background is Capstan House, and beyond that, Galleon House, which was being refurbished at the time. Photo: Mick Lemmerman

2006. Photo: Peter Wright



Around 2011 construction started on new housing on the Schooner Estate. New blocks were built on the site of the garages and all other open space along Glengarnock Avenue. Capstan House was also demolished so that the development could continue along Stebondale Street. It is known as ‘Parkside Quarter’, which presumably is more marketable a name than ‘Schooner Estate’.

The development of Parkside Quarter

Screenshot of Telford Homes’ website

Early Residents

Anyway, back to the mid-1960s, here is a list of some of the earliest residents. It is far from complete because the information comes from electoral registers, and not everyone bothered to register to vote or keep their address up to date in the register. I also don’t have the names of early occupants of the flats above the shops. I am happy to fix the shortcomings if you have any additions or corrections (you can comment on this article).

Capstan House
8 Lerpiniere
13 Jones
17 Towler
18 Pritchard
19 Frost
22 Tand
24 Baily

Carvel House
4 Payne
5 Mitchell
7 Griggs
10 Griffiths

Clipper House
1 Williams
5 Coleman
8 Bennett
10 Hoskins
11 Bridges
12 Soper
14 Blashka
16 Roberts

Frigate House
1 Hill
2 Blackall
5 Liddell
6 Duggan
8 Middleton
9 Hodder
12 Thake

Galleon House
1 Moss
12 Thornton
13 Marlborough
15 Knowles
18 Everingham
21 Griffin
23 Hale
25 Lowe
27 Rolfe
27 Starling
32 Ryan
33 Sampson
35 Errington
38 Thackray
40 Roberts
40 Viney
42 Degaris
42 Higgs
46 Scott
48 Rickhuss
49 Burnett
50 Bartlett
51 Miller
52 Watkinson
53 Sidonie
54 Nicoli
57 Wright
58 Robinson
59 Emms
63 Rampersad
63 Wright
64 Brookes
69 Fairweather
70 Pine
72 Gillard
73 Stephens
74 Mingay
75 Gleeson
77 Webb
78 Lee
80 Lee

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Schooner Estate

  1. Malcolm Tremain says:

    The building of the Schooner Estate marked the beginning of the end of the Island as I knew it. The clearance of the terraced houses in Manchester Road between Glengarnock Avenue and Stebondale Street which had survived the war, was an act of vandalism carried out by planners whose vision went no further than cheap, high density housing for the masses. It was also the start of mass migration in and out of the Island. People came in from Islington, Kings Cross and Somerstown, which were places I’d never heard of. I remember meeting these strange, almost feral kids in Millwall park. They looked like kids from Fagin’s gang and spoke in a strange guttural dialect that I barely understood. It seemed to me that all they wanted to do was smash things up and cause trouble. I remember some of them throwing broken glass into the paddling pond and laughing about little kids cutting their feet on it. These kids were wild. I couldn’t understand why they were so different to everyone I knew. Luckily the park keeper found out and had the pond drained and cleaned before anyone got hurt. One of the new shops in Manchester Road was a supermarket, the first one on the Island. It was tiny but it was also the start of a different way of shopping. They even had shopping trolleys. My Mum didn’t like it, she preferred to get her meat from Alf’s, her groceries from Hart’s and her bread from the bakery. There was also a laundrette which was a godsend to all the women who didn’t have washing machines. Up until then many people were still doing their weekly wash the old fashioned way – with a copper boiler, a washboard and a bar of Sunlight Soap. Some women who did have washing machines would take in washing to make a few quid. There was a lady in Stebondale Street who my Mum used to send her bagwash to. I spent many a Saturday in the laundrette doing my Mum’s washing. I remember the machines spewing out huge waves of foam when people used the wrong sort of washing powder. There was a tiny playground under Galleon House at the front. There wasn’t much in it except the monkey bars and concrete pipe to crawl trough. No swings or roundabouts. My brother lived in Galleon House for a couple of years in the 70’s. It was an awful place by then. The lifts were always out of order, it stunk of urine and it was falling apart – literally. It must be said that the Island needed new housing to replace what was lost in the war but what it got was a social experiment that destroyed perfectly decent houses and much of the old community.

  2. Pingback: Church St aka Newcastle St aka Glengarnock Ave aka Glenaffric Ave | Isle of Dogs – Past Life, Past Lives

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.