Forest Hill has many lovely buildings, and a great mix of architecture.
One of the things I have noticed, walking around the streets of the area, is the extent of development of old houses to modern living standards, which is great. It is a shame to see some beautiful houses being converted to flats, with some roads of Victorian and Edwardian town houses totally turned over to flats, but that is the price we pay for urban housing density targets.
Not all developments, however, are created equally. I have been keeping an eye on one particularly lovely building (Montrose Villa) on Church Rise that seemed to be suffering the most horrific abuse.
First of all we witnessed plumes of black smoke day after day from fires in the back garden. I have no idea what they were burning, but I admit at first I thought the entire house was alight it was so large. And it went on and on (they even seemed to be shipping in more stuff to burn at one stage).
Then mysterious piles of earth kept appearing and disappearing, and I saw what must have been a pile of earth over 10 feet high in the back (clay soil - i.e. from rather deep).
Well, yesterday afternoon the road was cordoned off by police. Crowds, including me, gathered to see that the incompetent (or possibly unlucky - but I doubt it) builders had managed to erode the building's foundations. The police were evacuating the surrounding buildings and stopping all traffic.
Check out the crack on this building, and the angles where it has collapsed in the middle.(Click on the image for a larger version)
Today the Council is overseeing the pumping of several truck-loads of cement into the basement. I can't believe the building is salvageable, but good luck to them.
I can't believe there are people out there that stupid or brazen to excavate a basement without supporting the building, especially after reputedly spending £850,000 to buy the building in the first place.
[Update: according to my searches it was actually £585,000 - not that the extra £250k make much difference to the point]
(Click here for a few more photos - sorry the Police moved me on the first day before I got the camera out)