Saturday, 21 November 2020

Spotlight on Fairmount Drive

Fairmount Drive

We have seen from a previous blogpost that Fairmount Drive was one of a number of roads developed by the partnership of Arthur Edward Shepherd and Walter Mounteney, which included Holywell Drive, Highfields Drive, Benscliffe Drive and Shepherds Close. These streets and houses were created around the late-1920s-early-1930s, and by 1933, Arthur Edward Shepherd was living at Highcroft (1), no.1 Holywell Drive, a detached house at the summit of Fairmount Drive, practically opposite the home of Bernard Nixon Wale, who you may remember lived at no.40 Fairmount Drive.

Highcroft, No.1 Holywell Drive, the home of Arthur Edward Shepherd

Walter, the lime and coal merchant, who was the brother of Hilda Pick Mounteney, the second wife of Bernard Nixon Wale, and Arthur, the painter and decorator, had joined forces after the First World War, and in 1926, when Arthur bought shares in the building company of Corah, following the death of Edgar Corah, Arthur’s three sons joined their father’s business. Their early work saw the development of Park Road and Parklands Drive, followed by the demolishing of some Market Street properties. The creation of roads around Fairmount Drive were as a result of the selling off of some lands associated with the Burleigh Estate, some of which Arthur had bought and sold, and re-bought.

Many of the houses in the surrounding streets are easily recognisable as what we know today as typical semi-detached and detached 1930s houses. At the time they were built, Art Deco was really catching on as a type of art and architecture, so it is not surprising that there is a short row of striking Art Deco houses on the beginning of Shepherds Close.

Art Deco houses at the beginning of Shepherds Close

Fairmount Drive comprises mostly semi-detached houses on one side, and more extensive and substantial detached houses on the other. However, today, like many other streets, wherever a space has been found between houses, infill has taken place, so there are some unexpected, newer properties nestled between the original houses. Perhaps because of its position on the former Burleigh Estate, Fairmount Drive is lined with trees, and perhaps because of its straight ascent to the place where Burleigh Hall once stood, and towards the Iron Age Hill Fort, this is why the street is so called. Or perhaps, it is simply named after the house in which Arthur Edward Shepherd’s brother, Albert Marshall Shepherd, was living from around 1927 – ‘Fairmount’ on Westfield Drive?

Fairmount on Westfield Drive, home of Albert Marshall Shepherd

So, what news of Fairmount Drive over the years??