New development in the 1970s

As a resource intended to be of interest to both old and new residents and as a reference for the future, we have provided a history section to be expanded with more material as the website develops. A rough chronological framework is used here to structure the information we have to date on Ruston Mews.

With the growth of the London housing market in the 1960s, more projects were proposed. Ruston Close was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Bartle Road & St Andrew’s Square developments and the rough ground lying between Ruston Mews and the Underground became the site for 20 new houses in the mews.

This area of waste ground was at the time understood to be owned by London Underground who then sold it on to the numerous potential developers who had bought Ruston Mews. During the new house construction, the old granite setts (cobbles) that had been there for more than a century were removed in order to dig the new drains. It was thought that they were then dumped and sadly, no one was able to do anything about it.

Below are some pictures of the mews during the 1970s. As can be seen, traffic in the mews seemed to be much worse then than now!

Entrance to Ruston Mews Looking West c1973
Ruston Mews Looking West from No 5 c1973

During the late 70s & early 80s, after construction of the new houses was completed, Ruston Mews as a roadway was left to itself and the street gradually fell into disrepair. Because there was no organisation in place to carry out maintenance, potholes appeared in the tarmac and no one, except the occasional Good Samaritan felt obliged to do anything. This work was invariably done cheaply with rubble and the holes usually reappeared again, particularly after heavy rain. People would sometimes trip on the potholes at night because of the poor lighting and there were numerous complaints about the state of the road.

The council used to deal with individual houses to try to recover payments for street lighting and drain cleaning, parking was anarchic and many a buyer’s solicitor warned of the potential problems of buying a house in the road. During the 80s, the council was also threatening to withdraw lighting and street cleaning services because of a general problem of non-payment by residents in the mews.

Also at that time, Andrews Garage, whose address is officially 22 St Marks Road, had begun to demolish the boundary wall between the garage and the mews and many became concerned that the boundaries were being permanently compromised.

See photo of Andrews Garage in the early 1970s below.

Photo of Andrews Garage from No 2 Ruston Mews

By the late 80s a consensus began to form that there should be residents association to take over control of the roadway and to ensure that the boundaries were secured.