The gatekeepers cottage

Some time back there was a Victorian hall chair in a house and the owner pointed out to us that it was designed to be sat on by one class (working) and looked at by another class (upper). The seat back was beautifully carved whilst the seat was flat and uncomfortable.TheGateHouseTheBigForest

This wonderful gatekeepers  cottage on the Cator Estate in Blackheath, London is the architectural equivalent of that hall chair. Outside it is a delight to the eye and we can imagine the upper classes enjoying the grandeur it creates as they entered the estate hurrying past to reach the vast early Victorian villas. Inside it is tiny. The gate-keeper and his family must have been cramped in such a tiny house. How do we know? One winters night we hurried past and looked fleetingly through the open curtains into the lit room. The living room was no more than eight foot square. A table and two chairs and it was full. The kitchen must only be four-foot wide.

We sometimes fantasize that the lodge cottage  would be perfect transported to TheBigForest. Imagine a quick scramble up the steps to the ‘belle vue’ tower to look across the tree-tops to the sea sparkling in the distance. The small garden could be filled with beds of vegetables and sweet peas.

Today we have a creative to-do list as long as our arms – commissions, photographs for a magazine article, a new saw to cut out the backgrounds to our dog sculptures… no time for forest fantasies. And its raining too! Which for some strange reason fires creativity – at least for us. Right, what shall we make first…….?



About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. So much wonderful detail in such a small (and pricey) package. I’ve eye’d your message above and thought, “gads, that’s banana’s!” Our home prices are nutty here but nothing like that. I suppose there’s always a price to buying the cache and history of a particular locale. We’ve just bought a home and will be moving next month. It was a 2.5 year search, so we are really relieved. Finally can look forward to relaxing in our very own garden or reading on a quiet patio.

    • Good luck with your new home. After two and half years of search you deserve to be happy and settled.

      My Canadian family never understand how anyone in England affords to buy anywhere!

  2. It’s a lovely little building but so tiny to live in! It could make a wonderful studio for creative endeavors!

    • The house opposite recently sold for £2.5million so I think we would be looking at a £700k studio unfortunately ($1.18million according to the google currency conversion). Even a tiny gatehouse on The Cator Estate is highly desirable. Ah, crazy London property prices!!

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