Housing in Etwall – The Twentieth Century

By Terry Adams December 2007

In 1901 the population of Etwall was 688. By 2001 this figure had risen to about 2500, living in just over a thousand dwellings. The figures, naturally, depend on exactly how ‘Etwall’ is defined.

This paper traces the increase in housing, an increase that was slow up to the outbreak of World War II and very rapid after it.

The parish records show that in March 1919 the resolution was put to Repton Rural District Council “That the housing conditions in Etwall are very inferior and distinctly bad, that there is a considerable need for new housing being built, furthermore that there is much need of a visit from the sanitary officer.” By August 1919 a housing committee had met on three occasions. It recommended eight new houses to replace those which were overcrowded and two additional ones for outside workers.

It was, of course, the District Council that had powers under The Housing and Town Planning Act 1919 to get money from the central government for building and administering “council houses”.

In 1921 five pairs of council houses were built on Egginton Road, and were originally known as 1-10 Council Row. They are now 48-66 Egginton Road.

By the time of the 1921 census the population had gone up to 721, an increase of 33 in the first 20 years of the century, and they were living in 168 dwellings.

In 1924 the shortage of houses was still being discussed by the Parish Council.

The large detached house on Sutton Lane known as “Hopcroft” was built in the 1920’s as were “The Elms”, on the present site of Primrose Bank and “Rake Hill” on Egginton Road.

In the mid-twenties Godfrey Mosley of Etwall Lodge built a pair of semi-detached houses on the corner opposite Sandypits Lane, one for the gardener, the other for the chauffeur.  They show the initials “GM” widely assumed to stand for the owner but the builder was George Mosley of Burton, so it could be that the letters “GM” are a builder’s mark.

In 1930, in reply to a circular letter and questionnaires on housing needs the Parish Council decided to request ten non-parlour, three bedroom houses. The site suggested was opposite Milton Terrace on Willington Road.

Also around 1930 a bungalow, now called Holly Bank, was built at the village end of Willington Road

About the same time a house, mainly of timber, was built well off the road, opposite Lonsdale College (now Etwall Hayes) by newly wed Charles Simpkins Junior of Lodge Farm.

By the 1931 census there were 744 inhabitants living in the village and they occupied 186 dwellings. Main Street, Portland Street and the lower end of Willington road accounted for some 406 persons while a further 139 lived on the lower end of Egginton Road.

At the Parish Council meeting in March of that year the pressing need for housing was again discussed. The meeting was told that only the choice of site was holding up matters and houses would be built as soon as possible. The September meeting of the same year again discussed housing. It was agreed that eight houses were needed over and above those already requested.

In 1932 the council received a letter from Repton RDC stating that housing had been held up by the country’s economic situation, but that shortly the urgency of housing provision would be reconsidered and doubtless building work would commence when a site could be found.

By January 1933 the Parish Council was getting quite worked up. The clerk of the Parish Council was instructed to write as follows to the Rural District Council and to press for a reply.

“Having regard to the frequent discussions held by this Council on Housing, including special meetings for deciding what information could be given to your Council when specially requested to do so by you, and what reasonable demands for houses could be made, the members of this Council are of the opinion that they are at least entitled to know something of how the matter of house Provisions stands at present as regards Etwall.

At their meeting last night the matter was again discussed and I was instructed to point out the efforts of this Council and the absence of information.”

In March 1933 the Parish Council’s Housing Sub-committee asked the parish to consider the improvement of existing condition of sanitation or condemnation of certain dwellings as being unfit for habitation. The same meeting was asked whether additional houses were required in response to a petition signed by 27 bona fide householders and others stating that new houses were urgently needed.

By Sept 1934 Wilfred Wood had started to demolish the old poor house, located near the site of the current CountyLibrary.

About 1938 four pairs of semi-detached houses were built for sale. These were, I believe, the first houses built “on spec” - for general sale, and not to order.  They were erected on old orchard land owned by Willoughby Measham. At about the same time Wilfred Wood converted part of the disused cattle-food factory on Willington Road, into three dwellings, 3-7 Willington Road.

In reply to an enquiry from Repton RDC, in June 1943 into the number of new houses needed, the number given, due to overcrowding was six.

In May 1946 and the Parish Council clerk instructed Rev Hodgson, the Etwall member of Repton RDC, to impress the very urgent necessity for the provision of houses. About this time Etwall did get some additional houses, but only due to boundary changes, the houses past Etwall L.N.E.R Station were transferred to Etwall Parish.

Then Repton RDC started the large scale development of the village with an estate of 225 houses in the Springfield Road area.

By July 1949 new residents had started moving into the row of council houses which had been built on a service road running parallel with Egginton road. Complaints soon started coming in as it was found that all the back door keys were the same!

The Parish Council was told at the October meeting of the same year, that contracts had been signed for a further forty houses, and that some of these were to be allocated to people living in the condemned houses in the village. What is more, some other houses in the village were to be reconditioned.

In 1951 it was agreed that the odd numbers on one side of Egginton Road should be arranged to correspond with the even numbers on the opposite side.

In August 1949 street names for the new council estate were proposed as “Belfield Road, Windmill Lane, Springfield Road, Courtland Road, and Cotton Close”.

All these names were said to have local associations. However, while the Parish Council approved the substitution by RDC of “Windmill Lane” for “Windmill Road”, they disagreed with the substitution of “Ash View Close” for the proposed “Sutton Close” and the clerk wrote to the RDC requesting that on another suitable occasion the name “Cotton Close” be used.  As of 2007, the name has still to find a home.

The first occupants of Windmill Road were in residence by early 1950. I am told by one resident, who moved in at this time, that two families were moved into each new house, and in her own case she was lucky enough to move in with her sister. Not everyone was so fortunate.

By 1951 the population of Etwall had risen to 1065 living in 282 dwellings, an increase of 221 people, and 94 dwellings over the 20 years since 1931 and of 377 people in the first half of the century. These figures would, of course, be dwarfed by what was to come.

Meantime, work had also begun on the Wimpey estate. At the April meeting of the Parish Council the names “Beech Drive”, “Pine Close” , “Sycamore Drive”, “Oaklands Road” and “Laburnum Way” were approved for the five new cul-de-sacs on the estate. “Elms Grove” was added the following month. It would seem that Oaklands Road was indeed a cul-de-sac, terminating at the junction with Belfield Road, leaving a plot of vacant land between this point and the corner by Etwall Lodge.

The ground work, carried out by Butterworth and Sons was to be completed by mid June 1959.

At the same time Fryer was building the Chestnut Grove development.

In January 1952, it was decided to build Airey type houses at the lower end of Belfield Road. These were a non-traditional type of dwelling constructed of pre-cast concrete. These were considered to be preferable in many ways but did pose a problem with their creaking floors. The Chairman informed the Parish Council meeting that means had now been found to eradicate this problem. Nevertheless, as early as the October meeting of 1953 it was reported that the exterior of many of the houses needed painting urgently. The doors of the Airey houses were in a deplorable state.

Members of the Parish Council were told at the January meeting of 1953 that further building would not be undertaken before an upgrade of the sewage works, which was already overloaded.

By 1961 the population had risen to 1866, an increase of 801 in ten years, more than double the increase for the whole first half of the century.

In June 1959 Wimpey had issued its first price list for “The Village Estate”, still better known as simply the Wimpey Estate. This price list was followed by two more, one in May 1960, and another in May 1966.

Houses were popping up regularly toward the end of the 1960s. In 1965 Page-Johnson built “The Sandypits Estate”, Kiln Croft and Park Way. According to an entry in “The Derbyshire Countryside” magazine of August  1964, these houses all had under floor heating.  

About the same time General Housing was extending Oaklands Road and Cox-Leason were building John Port Close. The  Derby Advertiser of October 23rd 1970 tells that “Since 1959 three building firms have between them built more than 350 houses, another 50 are in hand and permission is being sort for a further 25”.

By 1971 the population had increase to 2637.

Still the building went on.

Lawnswood Development, now Lawn Avenue, was built in two stages, the first in early 1970s, the second part some years later.

 In 1983 the Airey type houses on Belfield road were for the most part demolished. Some, where the deterioration of the dwelling was not too severe, had the concrete panels replaced with a brick envelope to create a traditional cavity. Those demolished were replaced on one side of the road by private houses and bungalows and on the other two blocks of council-owned sheltered flats were built.  At the same time two pairs of semi-detached houses were built on Windmill road. These were probably the last starter homes built in the village in the twentieth century.

From the 1980 onwards “infilling” came to the fore. Houses started to appear in what had been the gardens of older properties. Two or three “executive” style houses were squeezed into almost any garden where there was space. On Willington Road two houses were built on a small plot of land next to British Telecom. The Grove was a small development in the land of The Grange, and two more went in behind of the Old Forge which had itself been converted into a dwelling.

The 1990s saw the Etwall Gate Development of the old Etwall Hospital site by Gainsburgh. Ward 3 was turned into a “Range of Edwardian conversion properties” and an estate of the executive style houses, now known as “Risburgh”. On Main Street, houses were built on the site of the old village hall. These included a new rectory and the old Parish Room, now quite tastefully converted into a bungalow.

The abattoir, cowsheds and stables of Pear Tree farm, to the rear of the hairdressers, became Priory Court.

 Census Date





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Figures for 2001 include Ash, which is about 65 people in 16 households.