Recognised as a rare survivor of a fairly humble London house of c1700, originally two storeys and one-room deep with a central staircase, 67 Grange Walk had two rear extensions added, in about 1730 and again around 1840.
Behind the five-bay brick façade, no evidence has been found to link the timber structure to a date earlier than about 1700. The staircase also gives access into the attic which, when adapted in the 18th century, provided two rooms lit by two front dormer windows. This house, with its panelled rooms, dado rails, and elegant staircase, resembles a more modest version of the houses of Spitalfields, although proximity to Bermondsey Abbey would have added prestige to the location.
Though No 67 is now seen in isolation, there was a similar five-bay house adjacent, and to the east a range of 17th century houses not unlike those at Nos 5-11 Grange Walk. Incidentally, the road took its name from what was originally just a footpath to the Grange Farm owned by Bermondsey Abbey. In the 17th and 18th centuries Grange Walk was gradually developed with houses.
From 1700 Bermondsey become a thriving commercial area, and gradual piecemeal residential developments ignored the Metropolitan Building Acts, which banned timber house construction as a result of the Great Fire. Consequently, due to a lack of enforcement, modest timber-framed buildings were still being erected even into the 18th century, a few of which, with brick fronts, survive today.
The leather industry, with proximity to water, transport and availability of hides from Smithfield market, was expanding, and old maps show tanneries located in and near Grange Walk. Bermondsey also boasted food processing and paper manufacturing amongst its industries (Bryan Donkin was an important figure in both – he invented tinned food in 1811).
Although containing schools and housing and a leather manufacturers, by the late 19th century, Grange Walk also accommodated manufacturers of ginger beer, ferrule, and cocoa nut matting. Charles Booth’s 1898-99 Poverty Map of London showed a road of mixed fortunes, some comfortable, others poor.
In residential use until 1907, No 67 was then occupied by Mrs E Spaull & Co, clay pipe manufacturers. By the 1940s the business described itself as “E Spaull & Co Ltd Wholesale glass & earthenware merchants & sundriesmen. Est 1854”. A photograph shows frontage railings removed, and a plain late Victorian door case and Victorian sash windows on the ground floor. Within living memory, employees lived in the attic rooms.
Today, back in residential use, careful restoration and renovation of the house continue: the front façade has been cleaned, the 18th century doorcase and fenestration reinstated, and, internally, the shutters, panelling, cornicing and floorboards have been restored, along with 19th century features such as a range and rising shutter in the kitchen. Essential bathrooms and an extra dormer have been sympathetically introduced.