by Dorothy Palmer
The origins of the north Bruce streetscape east of Wortley Road stretch back to the tidy registered plan drawn up for Thomas Craig in 1870. This pair of archetypal side-hall-plan [SHP] cottages with their elegant London Doorways sit on a lot purchased by Henry Northey in 1884.
The city directory for 1884 identifies Northey as a blacksmith, living on Craig Street. What is intriguing is that later directories reveal that he owned both of these neighbouring homes on Bruce Street. It would appear that he built both houses, occupying the one and renting the other. Henry Northey and his family maintained ownership of both homes for decades.
Although Northey bought Lot 13 in 1884, it is somewhat unclear as to when both houses were built. The 1886 directory lists Northey as having moved from Craig Street to “ns of Bruce”. It is not until 1887 that both houses are specifically mentioned, with Thomas Parke, Barrister, listed as being in residence at one house and Northey occupying the cottage next door.
The doorways are unique in London in that they are the only examples of London Doorways in neighbouring detached residences. Both doorways follow the specific template for a London Doorway, but the door at the east house is somewhat thicker and flatter in its millwork than its “sibling” to the west.