Self-build in south London: Walters Way

Walters Way, Lewisham

This is a council estate of a very rare kind – the kind that the residents not just helped design, but actually built themselves.

Walters Way, which sits opposite One Tree Hill, just around the corner from Honor Oak Station (now on the ginger line of the Overground – so no excuses for being too far away), is slopey and leafy – not the perfect combination to build traditional council housing, as Lewisham council discovered in the 1980s when it tried to develop the site.

Walters Way, Lewisham

Walters Way, Lewisham

Luckily, pioneering planner Colin Ward knew just what to do with it. In the 1970s he had commissioned another small collection of houses at Segal Way, constructed using the self-build system designed by German architect Walter Segal.

Instead of pre-fabricated panels, Segal Method homes are constructed using a simple wooden frame and filling in the walls with insulation and boards. According to the Twentieth Century Society, the self-builders went to evening classes to learn how to put everything together, as well as plumbing and electrical skills. How fabulous is that?

Segal himself was involved in the design of all the homes – and after the success of phase one was happy for the self-builders of phase two to customise the houses a bit more.


Walters Way, Lewisham

This one now has a huge conservatory.

Walters Way, Lewisham

And this one, right at the end, is very quirky – complete with a stained glass picket fence.


Walters Way, Lewisham

I’m not sure how many of these homes are still social housing – at a glance I’d guess it’s 50/50.




This family is building a tree house for their kids – how awesome is that?

Walters Way, Lewisham

Sadly Segal died before this phase was finished. The streets where his houses now reside are named in his honour.

After looking around a bit and picturing myself living here I took a quick selfie in the curvy mirror  before jogging back home to east London. (Hence the iPhone photos).

Oh yes, and on the way home this happened – a man walking ducks down Peckham Lane!

Walters Way, Lewisham

For more information about Segal and his housing (including interior pictures) please see here.

4 thoughts on “Self-build in south London: Walters Way

  1. The street is all private owned and no longer social housing or owned by the council – in fact the road isn’t even adopted….

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