Townsend Yard development threatens historic cottage
Update: An application for Listed Building Consent for the demolition has been made and is out to consultation. The consultation period ends on Friday December 17th. To view the application details and consultation submissions, including that of the Highgate Society, click here.
Shepherd’s Cottage is a hidden treasure in Highgate located in the village backlands. The importance of Shepherd’s Cottage has now been recognised by Historic England through a separate and very detailed listing (see here).The cottage and its historic setting are threatened by a proposed development which will block heritage views and emergency access. The local community have come together to challenge these plans and to preserve the cottage in its setting for future generations.
The Highgate Society is leading the legal challenge to the proposals.
Video below produced by Peter Walton, Scarlett Pivaro Monaghan and Jane Hill. Note that the video refers to Shepherd’s Cottage as 17th century. However, our most recent research suggests it is more likely to be early 18th century – that’s still very old.
Shepherd’s Cottage, 36a Highgate High Street
This is a highly important, and almost unaltered, shepherd’s cottage, perhaps the last in its original form in Highgate, and which relates directly to the sheep that were traditionally held in the Highgate bowl before being taken on to Smithfield.
The cottage at 36a is approached along a Georgian passageway between no. 36 (7 Feary’s Row) and 38 (8 Feary’s Row) built 1791, and precedes this stretch of Highgate High Street. This last remaining backlands cottage, in old Middlesex vernacular is integral to Highgate’s cultural heritage and association with graziers, drovers and Smithfields.
Miss Constant the milliner’s shop from 1908, shows the concealed entrance to the Georgian covered passageway approach to the front door of the earlier Shepherd’s Cottage. (Photo courtesy HLSI)
Detail from the Ordnance Survey map of 1863 depicting Shepherd’s Cottage (coloured in red) and neighbouring yards in the back lands edging The Highgate Bowl, principally for grazing, subsequently nursery lands, growing flowers for the new arboretum cemetery at Highgate, Swain’s ‘Swynes’ Lane.
In 2017, with support from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), the owner ensured that chimneys and a flank elevation were restored to the highest conservation standards.
This cottage is referenced in the ‘The Small House in Eighteenth Century London’ by Peter Guillery Senior Historian The Survey of London