C. R. Leech was responsible for the building of hundreds of houses in Blackfen. He bought up farmland and Queenswood House in the early 1930s and built bungalows, terraced and semi-detached houses on the Burnt Oak, Queenswood and Westwood estates. A variety of house styles and sizes catered for a variety of needs, and customers ventured out from crowded inner London to live in houses with more space, fresh air and modern facilities.
Originally from Rotherhithe, Charles Richard Leech worked hard as a tarpaulin maker and moved to Carshalton, Surrey in 1922, taking over a floor-cloth factory. He later started building houses in Surrey, and then in Kent, once the prospect of people being able to afford their own homes became a reality. All his family were involved in his house-building business and often lived in houses on the new estates themselves.
C. R. Leech was a keen yachtsman and at the time of his death in 1952, aged 82, he was living at 12 Old Steine, Brighton. On a recent visit to this popular seaside resort I decided to look for his house.
12 Old Steine, Brighton (2014). It is now the premises of an English language college. Next door is a Sainsbury supermarket.
This property is just a short distance away from the sea he loved.
Brighton Pier from Old Steine (2014)
The house overlooks a lovely green area with the city’s war memorial.
War memorial and gardens, looking towards 12 Old Steine (2014)
After photographing 12 Old Steine, I turned around and was astonished to see the view he had from his house! No wonder he wanted to live there!
Brighton Pavilion from Old Steine (2014). Leech’s view probably would not have included the ice rink and cafe!