Thursday, 28 February 2019

Mrs Annabel Dott: additions and corrections

A minor point - just to inform readers that I have amended my text as regards the architect Walter Brierley's involvement in the Goathland scheme.  

It is known that he was involved in the conversion of the cottages for the disabled officers but it isn't clear whether he was involved in the original design stage.

3 March 2019:  Following correspondence with Lynne Dixon, I have made an amendment regarding the Amhurst Road house in which Annabel grew up.  Lynne has come to the conclusion that 13 & 323 Amhurst Road are one and the same.  Lynne informs me that Annabel gave up her membership of Women's Pioneer Housing Ltd after four months, probably because of pressure on her time, given her other projects and her parish work; I've made that alteration too.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

11. Annabel & Patrick Dott: Epilogue: sale of the Goathland Homes

A couple of years after Annabel put the Grey Wood estate at East Hoathly on the market, the Trustees of the Goathland Homes for Officers put the The Orchard up for sale.

By the summer of 1931, the Trustees had found that the cottage colony had run its course.  According to Percy Ward, "most people found Goathland too quiet" and it was decided to invest instead in houses in London.

Percy Ward, in his article in the Goathland News, recorded the names of the original tenants – men such as Captain Tollemarche, who was badly shellshocked and who played cricket for Goathland, and who was succeeded at No 1 by Capt Brown; Brigadier Smith at No 4, a fine tenor who sang in the church choir; Capt Harry West at No 5, who was very lame, and became Chief Surveyor to the County Council; and blind Mr Irish at No 6, who sang bass in the church choir.  This was the sort of involvement in village life that Annabel and Patrick must have envisaged for the occupants of the Orchard.  The announcement of the auction in the Yorkshire Post gave the names of the tenants in 1931:

Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 1 August 1931
GOATHLAND, YORKS.,
SALE OF THE ORCHARD ESTATE.
By Order of the Trustees of the Goathland Homes for Officers.
Messrs ROBERT GRAY and SONS will offer for Sale by Auction, on the Premises, Goathland, on THURSDAY, AUGUST 20th, 1931, at 2 p.m. (subject to Conditions),
The VALUABLE FREEHOLD ESTATE
known as
"THE ORCHARD," GOATHLAND, comprising Eight Stone-built DWELLING-HOUSES, including contents, gardens, orchard, gardener's cottage, recreation ground, and 15¾ acres of grass land, which will first be offered in one lot, and, if unsold, will be divided into eleven lots.
Each house is furnished, and the contents are included in the purchase.
Plans may be seen and particulars and conditions of sale obtained from the Auctioneers, Whitby; or of
Messrs GRAY and DODSWORTH, Solicitors,
Duncombe Place, York
Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 8 August 1931
LOT 1 - Semi-detached RESIDENCE, No. 1 The Orchard. Tenant – Captain Stanley Brown.  9 Rooms, old railway carriage, garden and orchard
LOT 2 - Semi-detached RESIDENCE, No. 2 The Orchard.  Tenant – Dr Slater.  Same size as lot 1, garden and orchard
LOT 3 - Stone-built RESIDENCE No 3 The Orchard.  Tenant – Mrs Almgill.  8 Rooms, garden and orchard.
LOT 4 - Stone-built RESIDENCE No 4 The Orchard. Tenant – Dr Smith.  7 Rooms, Garden and orchard
LOT 5 - Stone-built RESIDENCE No 5 The Orchard.  Tenant – Dr Aspinall, 8 Rooms, Garden and orchard
LOT 6 - Semi-detached RESIDENCE, No 6 The Orchard.  Tenant – Mrs Burt.  8 Rooms, Garden and orchard
LOT 7 - Semi-detached RESIDENCE, No 7 The Orchard.  Tenant – Mrs Todd.  9 Rooms, Garden and orchard
LOT 8 - Detached Stone-built RESIDENCE, No 8 The Orchard.  Now vacant.  8 Rooms, garden and orchard
LOT 9 - The Gardener's COTTAGE, adjoining Lot 7.  5 Rooms.
Each home is furnished, and the Contents are included in the purchase.
LOT 10 - FIVE CLOSES OF GRASS LAND and GARDEN adjoining above lots.  Tenant – Mr J Wilson.  Area 15,758 acres.  Annual Rent £21.  Fee Farm Rent 7s 6d per annum.  Tithe £1 3s 10d per annum.  Frontage to river Murk Esk.  Three hen houses and pigsty are included.
The Houses may be inspected on application to Captain Brown, No 1 The Orchard, Goathland, on Friday afternoons
So the Goathland cottages were sold to private owners.  Many alterations have been made to them since 1931, but the generous gift made by Annabel and Patrick is still remembered on the stone tablet recording the donation:



Very many thanks to Elsie Smith, a Trustee of Goathland Village Hall, for providing me with the Percy Ward article from the Goathland News

10. Annabel & Patrick Dott in Wiltshire: 1937 and 1938

I have not been able to find anything about Patrick's move from Barnes, but by mid-March 1937 he was Rector of the village of Winterslow, near Salisbury.  Perhaps it was intended to be a quieter parish and a slower way of life, after many years in busy or challenging ministries.
Mrs Annabel Dott (1868-1937)
It was in the Winterslow Rectory, on 18 March 1937, that Annabel signed her Will.  She left everything to her husband and appointed him sole Executor – a very simple Will but, most unusually, it was handwritten.  It does not appear to have been written by Annabel, but I can't discount the possibility that it is in Patrick's handwriting.  This suggests to me that, when Annabel was persuaded of the need to make a Will, they simply copied the terms of someone else's – perhaps Patrick's own Will.  The appropriate gap was left for the date to be inserted, and this has been done in a darker ink.  It is properly witnessed by retired schoolmaster and local JP, Henry T Witt, and by T Cottrell, the Rectory chauffeur.

Annabel died a few months later, on 5 November 1937, at the West London Hospital.  She was 69 years old, and the cause of death was 1(a) sarcoma of uterus with (b) multiple secondaries.  A funeral service was held at Barnes Parish church which was, the West London Observer reported, "attended by a large number of prominent local people."

Patrick took out Probate of her Will, the net value of her estate being £3,098 17s 8d.  He did not survive her long.  He died a year later, on 8 December 1938, at St Luke's Hostel, Fitzroy Square, a nursing home for clergy.  His sister Bessie was his Executrix.  Interestingly, the gross value of his estate according to the National Probate Calendar index, was £1,028 8s 10d, some £2,000 less than the value of Annabel's estate.  Perhaps this generous man had made more gifts and donations during the last year of his life.



9. Annabel & Patrick Dott in Barnes: 1923 to 1937

Patrick and Annabel stayed in Barnes for 14 years.  They had come to a beautiful place.  The area of Barnes Rectory was described in 1936 as
one of the beauty spots of a really beautiful borough ... of some three to four acres, consisting of the church, the rectory, the homestead and cottage
The Rectory adjoined the church.  It was a Georgian house of 28 rooms, and required work.  Patrick and Annabel are reported to have spent £2,000 on renovations on their arrival.  Patrick's gross stipend, according to Crockford's Directory of 1930, was £578 a year (£520 net plus house); he later said the rectory was so vast a building that it imposed a considerable strain on the incumbent's resources:
A house of this sort cannot be maintained on much under £1000 a year ... Only a man who has an income of at least £500 or £600 a year of his own can possibly accept this living
I have only been able to find a few newspaper articles relating to Patrick at Barnes, but luckily an article in the West London Observer of 31 March 1933, when there was a rumour that Patrick was leaving the parish for a city church, gives a brief account of how active he had been in the parish during his first ten years:
Mr Dott came to Barnes from Croydon in 1923, and during his ten years tenure he has been closely associated with the Barnes Nursing Association, League of Nations Union, Animals' Welfare Centre, Barnes Rotary Club, and many other local institutions.  He played a prominent part in the recent successful Charter celebrations, being Chairman of the sub-committee responsible for arranging the historical tableau in the procession. 
One of his first considerations on coming to Barnes was to raise funds for the building of a church hall which now stands in Kitson Road.  This was opened by Dean Inge in the Spring of 1928. 
During his rectorate Mr Dott has been instrumental in effecting many improvements both within and without the church, and at the moment he is endeavouring to raise sufficient money for a fund the object of which is to repair the older part of the roof of the historic Parish Church which, incidentally, dates back as far as the fifteenth century, and also the belfry steps and the bells.
The building of the Kitson Road church hall had also been Annabel's project:

West London Observer, 8 June 1928
NEW CHURCH HALL
Plans designed by Rector's Wife 
A new recreation hall for Barnes Parish Church, erected on a site in the Rectory grounds adjoining the church, was dedicated by the Dean of St Paul's and formally opened by Lady Lowther in the presence of a large and distinguished assembly last Saturday afternoon.  The fact that the plans of the hall were designed by his wife was revealed by the rector during the ceremony. 
The Rev W P Dott, who presided, read a message from the Duke of York, who has taken a keen interest in the efforts to provide a recreation hall, in which His Royal Highness expressed his pleasure that the hall had been completed.  It was a very great day for those who had had the matter on their hands for more than three years, the Rector said, and it was really a fine achievement that they had provided such a building, for the religious and social welfare of the parish.  They had had to encounter many difficulties in building the hall; at first they tried to find a site in front of the Rectory gardens, facing the main road, but it was found that this meant going beyond the building line.  The site was accordingly backed to the level of the old Rectory.  The first plans which were submitted by the honorary architect, the Rector continued, were found to be too costly, and finally, speaking with all modesty, the Rev Dott said the hall was designed by his wife.  (Applause).  "This is a time when the Church of England is being rent asunder," he said, "and it is pleasing to reflect that the Church of England in Barnes during this time of controversy has got on with the job." (Applause) ... 
A financial statement submitted by Mr Bowes Loddiges showed that £3,838 18s 6d had already been received, of which £2,842 12s 2d had been paid away.  Further demands amounted to £1,116 and as the cash in hand was £1,036, there was a deficit of £80.  In addition to this, he estimated that a further £180 would be required for equipment, etc. ... 
Following the opening ceremony, Mrs W P Dott presented Mr W Taylor, the foreman employed by the builders, with a handsome watch 
[There follows a short list of the more significant attendees:  councillors, and clergy from Holy Trinity Barnes, St Michael's Mortlake, and the West Kensington Jewish Synagogue]
This building is still the St Mary's Church Hall, generally known as Kitson Hall (the entrance is on Kitson Road)

Kitson Hall, Barnes
Annabel was still attracting press attention.  A story that she claimed to be able to build workers' houses at two-thirds of the cost of council houses appeared in several papers – her print persona was to be unorthodox and slightly eccentric, and how much of what is reported of her is true, is impossible to judge.  This is from the Dundee Evening Telegraph, 8 June 1928
If only the builders to-day would forget about the pretty villas with paper-like walls and unnecessary rooms that they are building," she said, "and go back to the simple old Elizabethan cottages, the housing shortage would be solved in half the time. 
The working man and the small clerk need only one large living room, with furniture such as sideboards and cupboards let into the walls.  Two rooms are more expensive, twice the work, and quite unnecessary. 
If only I could have the designing of the L.C.C and other Council estates being built for the workers I would put them up at two-thirds the cost, double the comfort, and make them solid, beautiful and lasting"
By this time, the work that Annabel had begun in Sussex in 1920 was nearly complete.  As the 1921 article in the Worthing Herald had said, she aimed to combine at Grey Wood, East Hoathly, "all the delights of Jacobean residences with all modern conveniences".  Her use of electricity attracted the attention of the trade press:

The Electrical Journal, vol 92 1924
Mrs Annabel Dott, wife of the Rector of Barnes, has designed and had erected 17 cottages [actually 14 dwellings in all] in Grey Wood, near East Hoathley, Sussex.  A special electrical generating plant has been equipped, and the cottages are supplied with current for lighting, irons, kettles, etc., while there are also a communal electric laundry, electric bakehouse and electric washer-up
Annabel had created a little hamlet at Greywood – a quirky collection of cottages, houses and supporting out-offices in a variety of styles.  As with the houses in Goathland, Annabel had used reclaimed materials.  She seems to have envisaged a self-sufficient little community, sharing facilities without living in each other's pockets, and enjoying a woodland and lakeside setting.  There was no architectural unity to the scheme – the cottages were thatched, the supporting out-offices were built in a half-timbered style, the houses were very individual – it was an eclectic collection of styles that must have appealed to Annabel herself.

The scheme cannot have been the success for which she had hoped, because she put the little estate up for auction at the end of May 1929 and the auction announcement in the Sussex Agricultural Express of 31 May shows that only two of the thatched houses in The Quad (see photograph below) were tenanted, and only one of the outlying houses.  The estate was to be sold as a whole or in lots, and prices ranged from £550 to £1,450.  
Quadrangle, Greywood, East Hoathly
The sales brochure which describes Greywood is written in a style so reminiscent of Annabel's own that it must surely have been written by her:-
The Grey Wood Estate consists of nearly Fifty Acres of beautiful woodland in which are built a Quad of Nine Thatched Houses, a Flat in the Little Quad, and four outlying Cottages.  It is about a mile from East Hoathly, a Village on the main London to Eastbourne Road, and is in an unspoiled rural district, its comparative isolation being its chief asset – it is so hard to get real country within fifty miles of London. 
People are tired of crowded towns, with the jostling on the pavement, and the rush of traffic.  It is a boon to get a small house away from the dust and noise of modern life.  Such a house with a really big living room and modern conveniences can be a comfortable home for a quiet-loving man, or a week-end refuge in the peace of the countryside.  The very distance from a station is a gain in these days of the small car and the motor 'Bus. 
The big Power Station makes it possible to supply its own electric light. 
The Quad is not a communal settlement, as at the 'Varsity, a man can "sport his oak" when he chooses; as in a London block of Flats, the Tenants do not necessarily have an intimate acquaintance, so in the country one's friendships depend on one's inclination. 
It is hoped to attract Tenants from the Services, especially Naval, Army, Indian Civil Servants, 'Varsity and Literary Men needing quiet; lovers of the Country and country life.
The Quad consisted of nine thatched houses built on three sides of a square:
Each House has a long low Living Room with panelled walls and oak floor, a small Kitchen, Dining Room, 3-4 Bedrooms, Bath Room.
Wired for Electric Light.  Radiators
Constant Hot Water could be arranged.
Telephone if desired.
The Little Quad, an L-shaped, black-and-white timbered adjunct to the Quad:
consists of boiler house, fuel store, electric laundry, the Estate Office, the Bakehouse, with a three-tier oven, an electric washer up for 200 people, and a store room for luggage may be added.
Above is a long Balcony, from which Three small Guest Bedrooms open in the manner of a little Swiss chalet hotel.
There is also a Flat with Drawing Room, Dining Room, Kitchenette, and Three Bedrooms and Bath Room.
The Quads at Greywood, East Hoathly
There were, according to the brochure, "four outlying cottages".  One was 'Fairview'
a house with wide open views across the Valley.  It is built of English oak weatherboard, lined with a wall of Moler Blocks making it warm and cosy.  The house is wired for electric light.  Living Room (oak floor), 20ft x 12 ft with casement Windows, radiator, Dining Room, 20ft x 12 ft, radiator.  Third small sitting Room.  Kitchen with independent hot water boiler.  Loggia, partly roofed to serve as open air sleeping porch.  The house stands in an acre of ground.
Another was 'The Little House', which
stands in a charming small garden about one acre, part of which is wild woodland, the rest fruit trees, flower beds and grass.  It is built of brick and English oak weather board, with a tiled roof.  The big long Living Room has an oak floor and Casement Windows.  A Dining Room and Small Kitchen are also on the Ground Floor.  Above are 3 Bedrooms and the Bathroom.
The description of the other two "outlying cottages" is fairly baffling, and seems to describe just one house:
Round Houses stands in an acre of ground and is copied from a house in S. Africa, which has four Round Rooms.  It is built of oak weather board and is thatched.  There are two Large Panelled Living Rooms, a charming Round Room for Smoking or a Man's Den, five Bedrooms, Bathroom, Kitchen, etc, and a cloak Room with W C and lavatory basin.  It is wired for electric light, has an independent hot water boiler, radiators in the Living Room, and is most easily worked.  There is room for a Garage and Tennis Lawn.  The Gate is a fine piece of old English ironwork.
It is thought that it may have had rounded corners or round rooms at the corners, rather than being a round house.

Greywood was fully equipped with its own electrical generating plant, a brick-built water tower, pumping sheds (with an Amanco engine and a Pettar engine), a hydro extractor, vats and tanks, a boiler house to provide hot water for 9 houses, circular saw, fire appliances, chicken sheds, bee barn and garage.

There was a small lake and, true to her love of entertainment in the country and of acting, Annabel had planned an open air theatre in the woods.

I do not know what happened at the sale in 1929.  In 1936 she evidently still owned the woodlands:

Sussex Agricultural Express, 1 May 1936
By kind permission of
Mrs Patrick Dott
The Woodlands,
(40 acres)
Greywood,
East Hoathly,
will be opened to the Public on
Wednesday, May 6th
between the hours of 12 noon and 7 pm
The charge for admission will be 1/-, which will be devoted to the Funds of the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Institution
Although Patrick and Annabel spent more time in Barnes than in any other parish, I have been able to find very few references to Annabel in the local press.  An article in the West London Observer of 26 February 1932 shows that she was the Secretary of the newly-formed Society of Friends of Barnes Church.  Dean Inge was the chief visitor at a public meeting of the Society, which was presided over by Patrick, who pointed out 
that they had recently made a great improvement to their churchyard, but they now had at least £500 to spend on repairing the fabric of the Church ... They had started a fund to meet their expenses.  
Annabel, the Society's secretary
explained how they had formed the Society to help the Church, and added that she thought they were the first parish church in the country to start such an organisation, although they had been run in conjunction with the various cathedrals.  Dean Inge had supported the idea and agreed to become their President.  To her mind, all who were proud of the parish church at Barnes should support the Society.
It's possible to follow parish activities in the pages of the West London Observer.  In the early 1930s Patrick was Mayor's Chaplain to Mr J D Firmston, J.P., the Charter-Mayor of Barnes.  The Rectory Grounds were used for fund-raising – in June 1933, there was Dogs' Jamboree in aid of the RSPCA.  And the new church hall – by mid-1935 it had become known as the Kitson Road Church Hall and often simply as Kitson Hall – was in regular use.  A quick look at the second half of 1935 shows: a display by a dancing school; a "flannel dance" held by the Tennis section of the Church Fellowship (Mr and Mrs Dott "looked in"); a play about Leonardo da Vinci; a Jubilee Bridge Drive held by the Badminton Section of the Church Fellowship; a two-act play translated from Spanish, called 'The Cradle Song', given by the Student Players; whist drives held by the Barnes Habitation of the Barnes Primrose League; the play 'Journey's End', by the Student Players; a sale of work and a concert in aid of Barnados ... 

But Annabel disappears from the press in the 1930s, as far as my searches of digitised newspapers show.  Perhaps she concentrated on parish life, or on her private life, or was very occupied with work for her favourite projects, such as the Women's Pioneer Housing.

Patrick and Annabel's last major activity in Barnes was, it seems, to apply to build a block of flats on the Rectory grounds, together with a new rectory, and for the old Georgian rectory of 28 rooms to be turned into chambers.  This was their solution to the problem of what to do with a rectory that was far too expensive to run – and it was natural, given their view of the need in London for more accommodation suitable for the needs of the post-War population.  

However, their proposal ran into trouble from the well-organised Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen Ratepayers' Association and was rejected by the Council.  The Dotts took their application to appeal, and it was rejected at an inquiry in early 1937.  It cannot be a coincidence that in March 1937, the Association held a public meeting at which their President gave an address on the subject, "Are flats a menace in Barnes?"  

But Annabel and Patrick would soon be gone.  By mid-March 1937 they were in Wiltshire.
The Rev W Patrick Dott at Barnes

With very many thanks to 
Jane Seabrook, local historian in East Hoathly, who has provided me with so much information on Greywood 
Cheryl Cole at Kitson Hall for use of the photograph
Descendants of the Dott family for the photograph of Patrick at Barnes


8. Annabel & Patrick Dott in Croydon: 1919 to 1923

Patrick had family ties to Croydon – his mother had lived there and he had sisters and brothers still in the area, though not actually living in his parish.  

St Luke's was quite a new parish – Patrick was only its 5th vicar and it had its 50th jubilee in April 1922 while he was there.  His income will have risen noticeably, as directory entries show that the stipend for St Luke's in 1891 was £365 a year net, including residence, while at Dringhouses in 1890 it was £160.

The church building itself was still unfinished and Patrick announced on his arrival that the work would continue as already planned at a cost of £3,000.  Sadly, some time after he had left the parish and the church had indeed been completed by the strenuous efforts of the parish and vicar, it was very badly damaged in a fire in June 1929 and work had to begin again.  

In 1919, Patrick was coming into a rather challenging situation.  St Luke's had been without a vicar for some time and the Rural Dean, the Rev Patrick McCormick, spoke to the congregation at Patrick's induction about the need for parishioners to trust their new vicar.  He said he was sure that Patrick, with the knowledge of men that he had gained in the military camp where he had done such good work, would not ride roughshod over people's feelings.  Unfortunately, Patrick and two long-standing churchwardens did indeed fall out badly in 1921.  There was a difference of opinion over the expense of the planned War Memorial and the argument played out messily in the pages of the Norwood News.  However, it was all finally settled when a new solution was suggested and the memorial cross that can be seen today was erected.  

The report of the induction service in the Norwood News of 3 October 1919 gives us a glimpse of Patrick and his new church.  There was a "ladies' choir in their gowns and mortar-boards," a lay reader and a curate.  Patrick announced the compromise arrangement he had already agreed with factions in the congregation that the service of Matins would alternate on Sunday mornings with that of Choral Eucharist.  He was a High Churchman, so more frequent Eucharists will have been very much his aim.  A report in the West Sussex Gazette on his appointment to Barnes in 1923 mentioned that he introduced vestments to Woodside and that the congregation had given him a cope.  Unsurprisingly given his background in mission work, he told his new congregation that he would probably introduce extra services of a mission nature, sometimes in the open air.  He was enthusiastic about the possibilities.  

While Patrick was very actively making changes at the church and being involved in the civic life of the area, Annabel was particularly busy.  The Rural Dean had introduced her to the congregation, rather dauntingly, not only as an architect (mentioning the donation of The Orchard and saying – according to the report in the Norwood News – that "the cost must have run into something approaching ten thousand pounds, judging from the comments in the Press at the time," which seems a rather exaggerated figure) but also as "a brilliant writer, articles from her pen appearing in the Nineteenth Century and the Architectural Review, the latter on the technical subject of fitments – labour-saving devices."

She was certainly active in the normal run of parish activities – suggesting a parish fête to raise money, arranging a tea & entertainment for 350 to 400 children of the unemployed of Woodside, with a Christmas tree, innumerable bags of sweets and a parting gift to each child of a bun and an orange in 1921 – but we can be sure there would have been a lot of muttering and uncertainty about a vicar's wife whose past achievements were as unusual as Annabel's – especially as, at the same time, she was very active outside the normal run of parish duties.  

She began with a parish building project.  On 27 February 1920, the Norwood News announced that
The Rev Patrick Dott will soon be in a position to welcome parishioners to the new "vicar's room."  The idea is to have a rendezvous where men and women alike may call informally at any time, meet others on parish business, see the vicar, or sit and read or smoke while they wait.  Mrs Dott has designed the whole thing.  She is directing the building operations, and has laid out the furnishing scheme.
From this use of the room in December, I would think Annabel had a hand in suggesting the speaker:

Norwood News, 17 December 1920
Dr Sophia Jevons on Citizenship
In the vicar's room, St Luke's, Woodside, Dr Sophia Jevons, L.C.C. [London County Council], gave a address on Citizenship to about fifty women and girls on Thursday of last week.
Now that women have the vote they ought to realise their responsibilities and duties, said Dr Jevons.  Women should attend the meetings of candidates before deciding for whom they should vote, and remember that much of their daily life was influenced by the power of the local authorities, a power for which they as voters were responsible.  The speaker gave many useful hints relative to children's health and education.
In the spring of 1921, various pieces about Annabel appeared in the newspapers, which must have caused a good deal of interest in the parish.  In March, newspapers across the country syndicated a story about Mrs Dott and a "gossip seat."  The Yorkshire Evening Post reported
One of Mrs Dott's original ideas is a gossip seat between the kitchen doors of semi-detached houses. 
"I know maids are bound to gossip so I thought they might as well do it comfortably, so I made the two kitchen doors face each other and put a seat in between."
I think this must relate to the Goathland cottages, which were the only semi-detached houses that Annabel had built; why it became a newspaper story in 1921, I don't know.

The Daily News in Perth, Australia, ran the same piece with the additional information (there's no way of knowing if this is an accurate report):
As soon as the first house of any group is built she lives in it herself for a fortnight in order to find out what alterations should be made.  Then she embodies them in the rest.
These articles prompted a piece in the Norwood News.  I am not sure how to interpret its tone.  What can the writer mean by "quaint"?  And "designing of flats for gentlewomen" sounds rather dismissive; in the interview in The Vote Annabel refers to flats for "bona-fide professional women workers":

Norwood News, 25 March 1921
A "Discovery"
From time to time references have been made in these columns to Mrs Dott, the Vicarage, Woodside, and her work as an architect.  The quaint parish parlour at Woodside is evidence of her resourcefulness.  The daily press have this week discovered Mrs Dott in relation to her building, especially in relation to the designing of flats for gentlewomen so that there shall be a saving of labour.  Before coming to Norwood Mrs Dott designed houses in Yorkshire.
On 22 April 1921, the much more substantial interview in The Vote appeared.  It ended with a resumé of Mrs Dott's work since coming to Croydon and shows how swiftly she had moved on from the creation of the vicar's room.  I'm afraid I haven't been able to check how accurate it is, but it's clear that, as well as being a founder member of Women's Pioneer Housing Ltd, Annabel had decided to provide housing for women herself:-
"So much for my work in the past," Mrs Dott continued.  "Since coming down to South London I have undertaken other building, such as the practical reconstruction and modernizing of an old manor house, the addition of a parish room to the vicarage, and the conversion of a big house into flats.  Another project in the same locality is the conversion of an old-fashioned house into self-contained flats for professional women workers, which I have furnished with really old and valuable furniture.  These are now ready for occupation at reasonable rentals, and, if any of your readers, who are bona-fide professional women workers, would care to write me, to the address of THE VOTE, I would consider their applications. 
"Reconstruction and conversion I find quite interesting," Mrs Dott finally concluded, "but building is really my bent, and you may be interested to learn I am now constructing several thatched houses in a wood in Sussex, of which I shall have more to say when the project is further advanced."
The article mentions the conversion of a big house into flats and the conversion of an old-fashioned house into self-contained flats; it is possible, of course, that the report is mentioning the same project twice.  Annabel certainly had just such a project in hand in South Norwood.

In February 1920 she heard that 14 Lancaster Road was to be sold, and she decided that it would be ideal to convert into flats for single working women.  She approached Sidney Woodcock and his wife, who held the underlease, and they agreed together that she should buy the leasehold term from the superior landlord, that the Woodcocks should stay in the house but that Annabel would have a lease on the rest and would sub-let it.  

The Sussex scheme mentioned in the article was much more ambitious.  Annabel had bought 50 acres of woodland and intended to build a little self-sufficient community of houses there.  In March 1920 she advertised in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette for a builder with knowledge of Cob building who was prepared to erect a cottage; she also required a thatcher.  And this piece appeared in a Sussex newspaper:

Sussex Agricultural Express, 14 May 1920
Mrs Dott deposited plans of some cottages to be erected at Grey Wood, East Hoathly, in Cope or Pisa work, no block plan showing drainage and water supply was included, damp course was not shown.  The plans were ordered to be returned for amendment.
The following year, on 2 July 1921, this very enthusiastic piece appeared in the Worthing Herald:
A Sussex Dream Spot
Arcadian Delights at East Hoathly 
It is very refreshing in these days of stern realities to meet an idealist, but this was my experience the other day (writes a 'Herald' representative) when I went to see the Rev W P Dott at Gray's Wood, near East Hoathly.  Mr Dott, who is the vicar of Woodside, a large and populous parish near Croydon, is something more than an idealist – he is that rara avis a practical idealist and yet modest withal.  It was my misfortune that I did not see Mrs Dott (she was in town the day I called), for to her Mr Dott gives all the credit for the undertaking on which they have embarked. 
Jacobean Residences 
The idea is to build sylvan homes of rest and quiet for gentle people.  About a year ago Grays Wood, a beautiful piece of typical English woodland about 50 acres in extent, was in the market and Mrs Dott, whose scheme was already formulated, purchased it.  It previously belonged to Lord Chichester and was one of his most favourite pieces of covert and abounds with game.  Part of the wood near the road was cleared and in that space, amid the birch, ash and oak trees, nine houses of the type one dreams about – with stone encased mullioned windows, wide fireplaces, oak floors, beams and panelling, all the delights of Jacobean residences with all modern conveniences – are being built.  The dwellings are being erected there on each of three sides of a square. 
Woodland Fruits and Flowers 
An ornamental lake and old-fashioned courtyard and garden are to be made in the square.  Behind the houses the virgin woods are to be unspoiled and yet made even more delightful.  Mrs Dott, who has been energetically engaged on the scheme for some months, has planted bulbs all through the woods, and where she has sown seeds foxgloves have sprung up in rich and beautiful profusion.  The Ministry of Agriculture, always ready to encourage the reclaiming of the land, has given 1,000 fruit trees, and these are to be planted here and there in the woods where the atmosphere is always warm and the soil favourable for their growth.  An enclosed orchard is also being formed.  
Such a haven as this will indeed be a place of rest and quiet.  In three months' time it is hoped that the scheme will be completed and then I am to go and see Mrs Dott.  It is in such a place that I should wish to live when my ship comes home.
Three months for completion sounds a little hopeful, given this report regarding planning approval (though perhaps it was granted retrospectively) – and the Worthing Herald article mentions nine houses, while this report from the Uckfield Urban Council mentions seven:-

Sussex Agricultural Express, 8 July 1921
East Hoathly
THATCHED COTTAGES. - The Surveyor of the Uckfield Urban Council has reported that the plans of seven cottages at Gray Wood, East Hoathly, for Mrs A Dott, had been approved.  Thatched roofs had been specially allowed by the Ministry of Health.  The Housing Committee resolved to grant certificates for subsidy
I think Patrick was available for interview with the Worthing Herald because – presumably worn out after the months fraught with arguments over the War Memorial, which had ended with a newspaper report of the resignation of one of the churchwardens under the headline "Pathetic Vestry Incidents" – he had had to take time away from work.  The Norwood News in mid-July reported that he was returning, having been away for some time.

One of Annabel's projects had run into difficulty.  The conversion of 14 Lancasater Road, South Norwood, had not gone according to plan.  The episode sheds interesting light on Annabel's lack of method and her slightly slapdash approach, as well as her other activities at the time.

Annabel had spent £2,000 on buying the lease and repairing and furnishing the house.  Unfortunately her agreement with Mr Woodcock had fallen apart, and at the beginning of April 1922 Annabel sued him in the King's Bench Division for possession of the top floor, second floor and basement floor, and rent of premises in arrears, and damages for waste.  Mr Woodcock told the court that he had suggested a solicitor should draw up the agreement made between them originally, but Mrs Dott refused, saying she was quite satisfied that they could arrange matters amicably.  This had not worked out.  The case was reported in the Norwood News on 7 April 1922.

A letter from Annabel, written to Mr Woodcock from East Hoathly, Sussex, was read out in court.  It  gives us a vivid picture of her life
You said I am an elusive lady, and no wonder.
What with fruit-tree planting and building in Sussex and parish work at Woodside, I have scarcely time to eat or sleep.
To make matters worse, I have been ill, so will you forgive the long delay in sending agreement? ...
The judge, Mr Justice Lush, said that "it seemed a terrible thing that all this money should have been spent and that the scheme had not been allowed to fructify".  He suggested that the parties should try to come to an arrangement.  Fortunately they succeeded, Mr Woodcock recognising that Annabel had acted purely from philanthropic motives.
Mr Justice Lush, in expressing his approval of the course adopted, said it was eminently a case for settlement.  Mrs Dott had done what she had over this house from philanthropic reasons, but, through want of business habits on the part of the parties, he thought it would have been almost impossible to arrive at a solution.
This time it was Annabel's health that gave way:-

Norwood News, 22 Sept 1922
The Vicar and Mrs Dott left on Thursday for a stay on the Continent, the medical adviser insisting on Mrs Dott having a thorough change
In February 1923 she was back at work, and applying for planning approval to convert a house in Lancaster Road (the same one? another one?) into four flats.  She was still newsworthy – the West Sussex Gazette even reported this:

West Sussex Gazette, 26 April 1923
Overhanging Trees: A Motor-Bus Mishap 
The danger of overhanging trees to the occupants of motor-'buses and chars-à-bancs was shown on Tuesday of last week, when several passengers travelling on the outside of the afternoon 'bus between Chichester and Selsey were struck by a branch.  Mrs Patrick Dott was struck full in the face, and received an injury to one eye, and two women sitting behind were also struck, and one had her spectacles broken.  Happily the glass did not penetrate the eye.  Mrs Dott was not so fortunate in escaping injury.  The bough struck the eye, causing intense pain, and she had to be taken to London to consult a specialist.  Much sympathy has been expressed both in Chichester and at Woodside, Croydon, where the Rev Patrick Dott is vicar.
But before many weeks were past, she and Patrick were to leave Croydon.  The Norwood News on 6 April 1923 reported that at the evening service on Easter Day, Patrick spoke to the large congregation from the chancel steps: 
They had had, he said, a splendid Easter festival, and it was a great joy to him to know that notwithstanding so many were away, 590 had presented themselves that day at the altar of that church.
But it would be his last Easter as their vicar, because the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's had preferred him to the rectory of Barnes in place of Canon Kitson.  The Dean and Chapter must have been looking for a vicar who would not be afraid to make changes, as Canon Kitson had been at Barnes, an important post, for thirty years.  Patrick, said the Norwood News (with an unspoken look back at the War Memorial episode, presumably), had been 
a "live" vicar in every sense of the word, and a vast amount of organising and progressiveness has been manifested in all departments of church work. 
A vicar of such a temperament is naturally faced here and there with differences of opinion, but differences of opinion are evidence of vitality.  Where they do not exist it too often means indolence and sloth.
The Norwood News of 22 June 1923 reported Patrick's warm farewell to his parishioners:
he referred to the large amount of social work which goes on at Woodside, commending it warmly as a part of Christian life.  He paid a heartfelt tribute also to the Church Council and to the large body of Sunday school teachers with their superintendents.  Of the choir and organist and the Guild of Servers at St Luke's, he spoke with earnestness and gratitude, and a special word of heartfelt thanks was offered to the churchwardens, Messrs G T Tobitt and J Holden for their loyal co-operation in the work of the parish.

Note: the name Grey Wood appears in several forms  Gray's Wood, Gray Wood, Greywood etc.

7. Annabel & Patrick Dott, WWI & the Cottage Colony: 1917 to 1919

On 19 June 1917, the Rev William Patrick Dott was appointed one of the temporary chaplains to the Forces, a post he held for the rest of the War; he seems to have been an honorary chaplain for a year or two after the War ended.  He and his wife Annabel moved to his new post at the military camp at Blandford in Dorset.

The Rural Dean, in his address to the congregation at Patrick's induction to the living of Woodside, Croydon, said that the camp frequently consisted of 18,000 men and
The drafts from the Royal Naval Division, Crystal Palace, usually went to this camp on leaving the Palace, as did the men of the RAF.  Mr Dott had a hut in camp, and considered his duties a glorious opportunity for good work.  His experience and knowledge of men won him the confidence of the lads, and they would come to him almost at all hours of the day and night with their troubles and difficulties, and ever found him sympathetic and practical.  He received the special thanks and recognition of the Chaplain-General, Bishop Taylor Smith, for his services at this camp.  [Norwood News, 3 October 1919]
Annabel was clearly shocked and dismayed at the rural poverty in Dorset.  She wrote of it with great feeling in her article for The Nineteenth Century and After in February 1919, in which she was describing the scheme that was being set up in Goathland for a cottage colony for disabled officers.  She advocated the involvement of ex-officers to improve rural life:
There are so many ways in which country life could be made happier: the use of machinery to save drudgery, better lighting to lessen the dullness and darkness, electricity harnessed for both purposes, larger returns won by intensive culture, the organisation of better transport, a higher standard of living, more amusements, sports, and above all a reformation of the housing system ... 
Monotony is the bane of country life; it causes the seven devils of gossip and spite, envy and slander, narrowness (one of the meanest of the devils) and hopelessness; and emptiness, the mother of them all ... 
It is in the winter that the dullness is most deadly.  The long, dark evenings must be filled ... 
Have I dwelt too long on mere amusement?  The dullness of the country has been like a miasma sapping at rural life.  One has actually to live among the agricultural labourers in one of their small inconvenient cottages, as the writer has done for nearly a year, near a great Camp, to realise how little of recreation they have.  The fields are fenced with hedges, there are not many open spaces for all comers, hence the great need of a village green.  In the narrow, overcrowded living-room of the average cottage there is no privacy, there is not even much room for a guest and a stranger.  In many villages there is no resident squire, and often the vicar, handicapped by the anxieties of a small living, and the depressing isolation from the society of his equals, sinks into an apathy that has not the energy to start fresh schemes outside his special duties ... 
Here she speaks of the measures she considers necessary to improve rural life:
every house should if possible have water laid on (even if the supply is an adjacent well, a hand pump will raise the water to a cistern in the roof) and that a kitchen sink is essential.  Very few, scarcely any, gentlefolks realise what it means on a rainy, muddy day to draw every drop and carry it to the house, and afterwards empty the dirty water outside the cottage; small wonder if it is thrown close to the door until the fouled ground becomes a fertile breeding place for germs.  Cupboards in each bedroom, so that the Sunday clothes may last longer by being carefully stored; cupboards in the living-room to hold a supply of groceries and enable more economical buying; damp-courses and double walls in exposed situations to give dry and healthy dwellings ...
... no special technical training is needed to know that proper space in the living-room and three bedrooms in a family cottage are essential for bare decency
Transport, she felt, was of great importance:
a motor-'bus service ... would be a great advantage to the women of a district.  It would lessen the hardships of distant shopping, and it would bring chances of social life and the opportunities of seeing relations and friends to those who now lead needlessly drab and narrow lives ... 
Lighting is another important rural matter.  The dark roads make traffic difficult if not impossible after sunset, and during long evenings when there is no moon it is not an easy matter for old people, women, or delicate folk to get about.  One of the attractions of the town is the brightly lit streets ...
But Annabel and Patrick's most immediate and pressing concern was their feeling – which they shared with very many people – that something must be done for servicemen disabled in the War.

These three webpages – Historic England's overview of Domestic Housing for Disabled Veterans 1900-2014, an interview on the Digging In website with Louise Bell, First World War Diverse Histories researcher at the National Archives, and an account of the history of the Enham Trust – are just a selection of websites to give an idea of the efforts being made and the thought being put into the problem before and after 1918.  

Annabel and Patrick felt they must – and could – do something themselves.  They decided to donate the nine cottages of The Orchard in Goathland to be a "cottage colony" for disabled officers and the nucleus of a County scheme.

Annabel and Patrick devised a threefold scheme, which they laid before the Lord-Lieutenant Sir Hugh Bell (father of the celebrated Gertrude Bell) in January 1917.  It comprised housing, occupations and education. 

As regards housing, officers and their families were to be able to live comfortably in a suitable house at a nominal rent – 5 shillings per week was suggested – to cover repairs.  

As regards occupations, they wanted the disabled officer to have a choice.  Suggestions included poultry rearing, fruit growing, bee-keeping (for heather honey) and small cultures including medicinal herbs.  The North-Eastern Railway Company had granted a lease at a peppercorn rent of a piece of ground near to The Orchard, upon which foxgloves and other herbs could grow in the semi-wild.  High hopes were entertained of weaving, which it was thought might become a village industry (this was a cherished dream in the Arts and Crafts Movement at the time).  The Dotts had enlisted the help of Professor Aldred Farrar Barker (1868-1964), Professor of Textile Industries at Leeds University, who had offered the guidance and help of his department. 

As regards education, the Dotts hoped that the county would raise a small fund that would supplement other grants available to disabled officers to educate their sons.  They felt it was very important that a boy should be able to go to his father's school and that "a girl should receive such an education as may qualify her to earn her livelihood professionally."  This part of the scheme remained in abeyance.

Their scheme was announced in October 1918.  The Yorkshire Post of 19 October carried a piece under the headline "Provision for Disabled Officers – A Model Scheme at Goathland."

The thoughts behind the scheme can be found in a long piece by Annabel published in the February 1919 edition of the monthly review The Nineteenth Century and After.  In it we can see Annabel the reformer and campaigner, with a deep concern for the working men of Britain and the men disabled in the War.

She began with a rallying cry, a quotation from the King: "We have to create a better Britain."  She paid tribute to the working men of the country who fought in the War, in typically vivid and blunt language:
It is so easy to point to the profiteers, to the shirkers and skulkers in every class.  The scum always rises to the top but a good housewife knows that it is when the pot is boiling furiously that the scum can be skimmed off and thrown away ... 
If we want to fight alike Revolutionists and Reactionaries, we shall do it by forgetting class and our own self-interest, and remembering that we are all English together
She spoke of the need for leadership and that it is to the young returning Officers that the country must look for the same qualities in peacetime that made them successful leaders of their men in the War – but she envisaged a changed society:
The leader who will gain followers is the leader who brings hope ... The privileges of wealth, position, education, influence never carried a heavier responsibility than today ... 
... money-making is important, but the money made must be shared more equally in future ... 
... Such an opportunity to strengthen and build up the country and the Empire has never come before, and may never come again.  The Government realised this when Sir Richard Winfrey, the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, brought in his Small Holdings Colonies Bill, asking for 80,000 acres as a start to provide land for the discharged and disabled soldiers; this 80,000 acres will be only a beginning of what is needed ...
Her suggestion was that it is in the countryside that the disabled Officer can find a way of using the leadership skills he had learned and shown in the War to help build up a better Britain. "Rural reconstruction" would give an opportunity for men who could not bear the stress of town life to recover some strength and vigour and also to benefit the countryside. 

It is here that she describes the ways in which country life could be so much improved – and it is noticeable from the quotations I gave earlier that Annabel does not have a nostalgic view of the possibilities for rural life.  She looks to the use of machinery, electricity and motor transport and her view of farming is prescient:
the future prosperity of agriculture in England lies in the big farms worked on scientific principles ... and in small holdings and intensive culture.  The medium-sized farm worked in a somewhat rule-of-thumb fashion without sufficient capital must be eliminated, it will not be able to hold its own in the coming competition.
And in these comments we can find a foreshadowing of the work of rural development programmes:
Hitherto small cultures and village industries have been largely in the hands either of cranks or of uneducated people; no one has quite realised the possibilities that may lie before them.  Organisation, the use of better materials, good transport, and business ability brought to bear on securing the right markets might open a very different future
She goes into detail on the subject of the possible occupations – and she is blunt on the need for a new mindset.  She suggests that an officer with an orchard on the edge of a town could buy one of the numerous camp huts that would soon be for sale, set up a storehouse, and jam-boiling room, and a shop – "the War has killed snobbery."

She deals with poultry farming ("urged almost ad nauseam" but success is possible with the right business choices); with fruit growing; bee-keeping; fish-breeding; rabbits; a nursery of saplings, ideal for officers who cannot give constant attention; handicrafts; basket-making – she advises growing one's own osiers; and glove-making.

She is passionate on the subject of entertainment in country life.  She speaks of the need for villages to have the equivalent of a village green where the children can play – a field should be bought, or donated "but it must be close to the largest group of cottages or in an easily accessible spot."  Country sport, she felt, was too much for the rich:
Fishing, not poaching, must be made easier for lovers of the rod, and why should not many of the golf links be open to all on payment of a small fee, at any rate in the evening?
The long, dark evenings could be filled with dances, whist drives, lectures and classes, all of which could do with the support of officers and their wives.  
Another pastime too much neglected in the country save in the great houses is acting.  We all love it.
An open air stage can easily be created – pageants for children and adults can be staged.  In Pickering 
a delightful small pageant was given by the townsfolk in the grounds of their ruined and historic castle.
Where there is a village hall, plays could be arranged in the winter, "a time when they are still more needed."  "Morris dancing is sometimes smiled at as the fad of a few enthusiasts" but why should not children 
in the National Schools be taught to dance three days a week instead of the usual daily drill and Swedish exercises?
It was with these thoughts in mind that Annabel and Patrick offered The Orchard as the nucleus of a County scheme.

Their gift was accepted.  Sir Hugh Bell made his own financial contribution to the scheme and the celebrated York architect Walter Brierley was involved in the conversion of the cottages to fit the needs of the disabled officers.
Annabel gives a short description of the cottages – with the footnote referring readers who wished for more details to her illustrated article on the subject in the Architectural Review of April 1918 (I have not obtained a copy of this article so I can give no further information) – and she remarks of the furniture
The furniture is largely old oak collected from the countryside, the gathering of years, and towards this the Lord-Lieutenant provided £1,000, the rest is the gift of the donors of the houses. 
 She describes the garden in some detail:
The garden is immature yet, for trees and clipt hedges grow slowly in these windy spaces, but within a few years the foundations now laid will develop into a beautiful and dignified garden.  There are paved walks, and two flagged courtyards between the blocks of houses; one has a sundial with a motto copied from an old Dales farm house; in the other is a well-head after the Venetian fashion, on one side of which it is proposed to inscribe the names of the naval battles, on another side – France and Flanders – on a third side the far-flung battle line – Africa, Egypt, Gallipoli, Italy, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Salonika – on the fourth side facing the road 'Te Deum Laudamus'; while cut deep with the rim is the dedication 'God gave them a great thing to do, and they did it.'
Save one Officer, who being blind came from St Dunstan's [now called Blind Veterans UK], all the Officers now settled at the Orchard were sent by Mr Don Wauchope, through the Ministry of Pensions.  Any disabled Officer wishing for further information is asked to apply to Mr Don Wauchope, Imperial Association for Disabled Officers, Columbia House, Regent Street, W1 
We who have not fought must not shirk when it comes to giving – and the best we can do is not good enough.  We must remember the trust our dead have left us – to stand by their maimed comrades and "to build a better Britain."
By early February 1919, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph was reporting that six officers were in residence.  By 27 March, the Yorkshire Post said that the settlement is now "practically complete":
All cottages have been allotted, and eight officers with their wives and families are now, or shortly will be, in residence, and a start has already been made towards achieving the three-fold object which the generous promoters of the settlement had before them – the housing and occupation of the officers and the education of their children.  
Some degree of training had been given to the "settlers" through the Ministry of Pensions before they entered into residence, and lectures and demonstrations now being given on the spot in gardening and poultry rearing mark the beginning of instructional courses, ultimately to embrace a useful range of village industries, of which, it is hoped, the residents of the Goathland officers' settlement will be the pioneers, and the source of inspiration and example for the surrounding countryside ... 
The North-Eastern Railway Company have given land by which an extension will be possible of the existing Orchard, and so meet the needs of an officer who desires to specialise in fruit growing.  A further extension is now urgently wanted for another purpose.  One of the officers, blinded in action, wishes to take up sheep-farming on scientific lines.  A small piece of land, about 27 acres, adjoining The Orchard, could be acquired for £600.  The land has been used for sheep.  This is an opportunity for a generous Yorkshire man or woman to assist in an interesting Yorkshire experiment in the care of our disabled officers.  The land would, of course, be held by the trustees.  Mr Don Wauchope, Colombia House, Regent Street, London, W.1, would be glad to furnish particulars.  Mr Wauchope is an old football "blue" and international player, and is nephew of General Wauchope, who fell at Maggersfontein in the South African War. 
The Ministry of Pensions and the Executive of the King's Fund are also much interested in the Goathland scheme ... It is thought that big landlords and small, would be willing to assist in the patriotic movement by giving land on a longish lease, say 14 or 20 years, where the freehold cannot be given, preferably with buildings on it that could be adapted to small houses.  Another suggestion is that owners of great country houses for which they have no pressing use might consecrate them to a humane mission ...
Andrew Ramsay Don Wauchope (1861-1948) was Secretary of the Imperial Association for Assisting Disabled Naval and Military Officers, so it was apparently this organisation that was initially co-ordinating the foundation of the cottage colony.  Subsequently, a trust must have been set up, as when the houses were finally sold it was on the instructions of the Trustees of the Goathland Homes for Officers.  (Not, as Percy Ward thought, the Red Cross.)


This stone tablet commemorates the Dotts' gift.  

By May 1919, Annabel and Patrick had returned to Dringhouses vicarage – but they were not to remain there long.  At the end of September, Patrick was in his new parish of St Luke's, Woodside, a rapidly growing suburb of Croydon.

Very many thanks to 
Elsie Smith, a Trustee of Goathland Village Hall, who supplied me with the Percy Ward article
Dr Elizabeth McKellar for information on Walter Brierley.  The papers relating to Walter Brierley's involvement in the project in 1917/18 can be found in the Borthwick Institute Atkinson-Brierley papers

6. Annabel & Patrick Dott in Yorkshire: from 1909 to 1917

On 7 June 1909 Patrick was inducted Vicar of Dringhouses, York, by the Bishop of Beverley.  

Dringhouses lies just outside York, near the Racecourse.  By 1909 the once agricultural village had become a favourite place for the merchants of the city and was described ten years later at Patrick's induction in Croydon as a "fashionable suburb of York".  This was a great change from Woodstock, but Patrick's time at Dringhouses was very much taken up with mission work outside his parish.  

In the announcement of his appointment, he was described as the temporary secretary for the medical missions department of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.  While at Dringhouses, he was joint honorary secretary to the newly-formed Diocesan Board of Missions, and was active as a speaker – for example, at the Hull Missionary Exhibition in 1909 and at the York Diocesan Conference in Middlesbrough in 1910 – and as an organiser.  He took the evening service at St Ninian's, Whitby, at the first S.P.G. Summer School for 300 to 400 clergy, who were coming together "to spend the week in prayer and study on behalf of Foreign Missions, and also for social intercourse".  

His work in Whitby, and the affection that he and Annabel evidently had for the area, must have played a part in his donation of a sanctuary lamp "of antique design" to the chapel in St Michael's Church Institute.  (St Michael's church was demolished in 1977.  The Institute was, according to the Whitby Gazette of 8 November 1912, in Grape Lane, in a 
commodious and substantial structure in Grape Lane, formerly occupied by Messrs Frankland, Thornton and Simpson, solicitors, and adjoining the Whitby Cottage Hospital
He took part in the full majesty of services in the Minster – he was among the surpliced clergy at the Memorial Service for the late Archbishop of York, Dr William Maclagan, in September 1910 – but he also went out into the moors, preaching at the Glaisdale Harvest Thanksgiving in 1913 (Choral Evensong, Free Tea, Concert & Dramatic Entertainment, and a Dance with a Supper provided).  

He was Chaplain for two years running to the Sheriff of York – first to Mr F Cammidge in 1911, and then in 1912 to the prominent businessman Henry Ernest Leetham, who lived at Dringhouses.  (Photographs of his house, 'Aldersyde', can be seen here on flickr.)  In this way, said the Rural Dean in Croydon in 1919, Patrick
became interested in municipal affairs, educational work, and served in important capacities on the Charity Organisation Society.
However, Patrick and Annabel suffered a great loss in the early months of their time at Dringhouses.  Like her mother, who had been 39 when Annabel was born, Annabel had become pregnant late in life.  Annabel was delivered of the baby a few weeks after her 41st birthday – and, sadly, this announcement, intended for their friends back in South Africa, was placed in the births column of the weekly magazine called South Africa on 23 October 1909:
On the 18th inst at Scarborough, the wife of the Rev W P Dott, Vicar of Dringhouses, York, a daughter (prematurely stillborn)
Annabel was not in good health after this – perhaps she was not in good health during the pregnancy and that was why she was by the sea in Scarborough rather than in York when she went into labour – and she must have needed time away from parish duties to recover from the loss of her only child.  She spent the time in the North York Moors.

Perhaps she had visited Goathland with Patrick at the very beginning of their time at Dringhouses – the Summer School at Whitby had included, according to the Whitby Gazette of 18 June 1909, a trip to Goathland for the participants "so that they could see the moorland scenery".  It is clear that she took a great liking for the Goathland area.

Bulmer's Directory of 1890 described it as a sort of secret Eden, opened to the outsider by the railway in the middle of the 19th century:
The beautiful and secluded vale of Goathland was, previous to the construction of the Whitby and Pickering railway, a terra incognita to the outer world
By 1890 the village housed hotels as well as the old rural industries, and a "few scattered, well-built, modern houses" had been built by well-to-do people looking for a country retreat.  The village had continued to grow in the twenty years that followed.  The 1911 census shows a population of farmers, a gamekeeper, local trades, lodging houses, hotels, and the comfortable middle class.  Then as now, it attracted tourism, as did the railway line – Bradshaw's Railway Handbook of 1896 speaks of the railway from Pickering to Whitby passing 
through the most picturesque scenery ... the vales of Newton and Goathland present a wild country, with bold ranges of rock on either side.  These glens add much to the interest of the trip along the railway.  
Whitby was a major resort and Goathland took its share of the visitors.  Its golf course – "the most original golf course in the world," according to the vicar in 1913 – was an attraction.  (This fascinating webpage with its description of the course – the broken windows, the flying golf balls – is not to be missed)

It was while Annabel was convalescing that she had the idea of building in Goathland.  It is not clear whether she began with a plan to build a country house for herself and Patrick, or whether her first idea was to build a little group of cottages intended to be let.  In the event, she built nine cottages and a house and most of them were completed during the year 1912.

The article in The Vote of 22 April 1922 quotes her as saying,
At that time it was almost impossible to buy land in Goathland, practically the whole of it being in the hands of the Duchy of Lancaster and one or two big landlords.  I at last discovered a small building plot where I built my own house, and later I obtained a field which was converted into an orchard and garden, and on which nine houses were built.
However, according to Percy Ward, a local photographer who lived in one of the houses she built and who wrote in an article on the subject for the Goathland News in October 1976, she began with the nine cottages and built her own house later on.

And how could she afford it?  Where did she and Patrick find the capital?  This is a question that recurs throughout the story, when it is clear that they had large sums to spend on buying, building or renovating property.  I can't claim to have any answer.  

Of course, Patrick always had his stipend.  At Dringhouses (assuming the value of the living had not changed since Bulmer's Directory of 1890) Patrick's income was £160 a year, plus residence.  They did not, sadly, have the expense of children.  They probably had savings.  They will have inherited money when their surviving parent died.  Annabel had inherited some money when her mother died in 1903 – the gross value of Mrs Hall's estate is given (in the National Probate Calendar index) as £521-8s.  (The annual average earnings in 1908 were £70).  Mrs Betsey Dott's Probate value – she died on 1 June 1911 – was substantially more than Mrs Hall's, at £3,227-3s-6d, gross.  I don't know the terms of her Will, but her estate was probably divided between her nine surviving children.  

Perhaps Patrick and Annabel were personally frugal; perhaps there were other inheritances; perhaps they borrowed money on mortgage when necessary.  As to how they spent their money on themselves, we know that they had at least one holiday "on the Continent" and that they kept a car and employed a chauffeur to drive them in the 1920s and 1930s.   (In 1922 the local newspaper reported that the chauffeur had been in a minor traffic accident in Uckfield, and in the spring of 1937 the Rectory chauffeur witnessed Annabel's Will).  Annabel and Patrick did not leave large estates – Annabel left just over £3,000 in 1937 and Patrick just over £1,000 a year later.

(I will leave the reader to play around with possible modern equivalents for these sums, perhaps using a website like the Bank of England's inflation calculator.)  

Annabel had decided to take on the building project in Goathland herself and so set herself to master the subject.  Agnes M Miall's interview describes how Annabel studied to achieve this – and also reveals Annabel's views on women's abilities and on treating workmen as human beings:-
She read technical books on cottage-building, plumbing, drainage, brickmaking and joinery, and worked at the examination papers set for clerks of works until she began to feel that she had the subject at her fingers' ends.  She also acquired what she considers the essential art of giving directions to workmen in technical terms. 
"It is no harder than learning a new language or the violin," she assured me, "and I can say from my own experience that it is fascinating,  The great thing is to master the subject so thoroughly, both theoretically and practically, that you can test the workmanship of your labourers and know whether it is well done.  The only other qualification is to be able to handle men.  Labour troubles?"  She smiled when I hinted that builders' workmen have an inconvenient habit of striking.  "I have never had any labour troubles.  Pull with your workers, treat them not as hands but as men, and they will respond by giving you good service. 
The great thing is to try with all your might to be just.  The men appreciate this very keenly.  And always,"  Mrs Dott emphasised more than once, "always abide by their trade customs, even when they tell against you.  If there is any dispute, call up three or four men, find out the usual practice in the trade regarding the contested point, and adhere strictly to it.  In addition pay Trades Union rates (and a little more), with a half-penny an hour above for specially good work, and you ought not to have any difficulties whatever with your men."
Agnes M Miall's interview appeared under the headline "The Work of a Woman Builder" and does not explicitly state that Mrs Dott was the sole architect of the house and cottages.  In fact, I understand it has recently been discovered that Annabel may have consulted the celebrated York architect Walter Brierley at some point.  He was certainly involved in 1917/18 in the conversion of the cottages for occupation by the disabled officers.  We know for certain that Annabel drew up plans for herself – the plans received by the Council on 20 December 1912 were "for a dwelling-house at Goathland, for Mrs Dott, the plans having been prepared by that lady".

In 1904 Walter Brierley (1862-1926), known as the Lutyens of the North, had been the architect of the school in Patrick's parish of Dringhouses.  He also designed, among many other projects, County Hall, at Northallerton, the extension to Acklam Hall, Middlesbrough, and Thorpe Underwood Hall near Great Ouseburn.  

It has to be said that it seems that Annabel was rather unorthodox and eccentric in her methods – or perhaps nowadays viewers of Channel 4's 'Grand Designs' would say thorough in her methods – as we can see from a piece in the Yorkshire Evening Post of 21 March 1921, which reports her as saying
In order to choose where the windows should be placed in one room I had all the four sides shut off from the daylight when it was under construction, and I used to go there at dawn, noon, and twilight and make openings here and there so that I could tell in which position I could get the best light.
According to Percy Ward, the builders
had a frustrating time, as Mrs Dott changed her mind every time she paid a visit from her home in York ... Later on, Mrs Dott built a house in the village but by this time the builders were fed up with her constant changes of plan and did not bother to inform her that no arrangement had been made for a staircase leading to the second floor.  This problem Mrs Dott solved by obtaining some old railway sleepers and had a staircase built outside.
It certainly must have taken the men some time to get used to working to plans drawn up by a woman – or it would be more accurate to say, in the terms of the time, a lady – and to find that she was also in charge of day-to-day operations must have been fairly startling.  Annabel was without doubt unconventional and later events show that she could be rather slapdash in her approach.  However, I notice that Percy Ward seems to be unaware that Annabel herself had drawn up the plans for approval by the planning authorities, and was also unaware of Annabel's preparatory work to train herself up to be able to do this.  I do wonder how much the village stories about Annabel had taken on a life of their own over the years and how much they were affected by the press portrayal of her in the 1920s as an eccentric, perhaps even silly, woman, who was an anomaly in a man's world.  

The plot that Annabel found for the house for herself and Patrick was on the road up to the church – it is the house after the Fairhaven Guest House, which in 1911 was the home of Captain Richard Smailes, a steamship manager.


The Yorkshire Evening Post article says that the house (the photograph above shows it today) had ten bedrooms and four sitting-rooms.  I don't know if this is correct.  By 1921 Annabel had become somebody that the press considered good copy, and I have found stories about her repeated in newspapers across Britain and even Australia.  It's impossible to say how accurate they are.  I think The Woman's Leader interview (16 July 1920) with Agnes M Miall is likely to be fairly accurate because she knew the interviewer, and I think that is also probably true of the piece in The Vote on 22 April 1921.  

Certainly Annabel must have achieved quite a saving by being her own builder, and she apparently later made a profit on the house, which must be the one that Agnes M Miall refers to when she says
one house was sold as a country cottage to a rich York manufacturer for the high price of £2,000
The land Annabel bought for her little development of holiday or rental cottages is referred to in reports of Whitby Rural District Council meetings as "the Mortar Pit estate", on the northern side of the village beyond the Vicarage.  


[This 1888-1913 O.S. map is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland from their excellent Map Images website.  It shows the Mortar Pit estate (top left corner) before Annabel's cottages were built]

Here is Agnes M Miall's account in The Woman's Leader.  In the interview, she does not mention the house built next to Fairhaven, but seems to conflate the house with the cottages:
Then Mrs Dott had the opportunity of buying a piece of ground at Goathland, and in 1910 undertook the great adventure of building a group of cottages on it.  She made her own plans for the houses, intending to get a builder to carry them out, but this plan fell through because the man refused to employ local labour. 
"And I wanted my Goathland houses to be built by Goathland men," said Mrs Dott.  "Well, there remained only one thing to do, and that was to put them up myself.  So I gathered together the bricklayers, masons, and joiners round about and explained to them what I wanted to do.  I said frankly that I wasn't an expert builder, and that they could cheat me in a hundred ways if they chose.  But I'm glad to say that only two did – out of thirty-eight."
I've been able to track Annabel's progress through reports in the Whitby Gazette.

At the time of the census on 2 April 1911 she had been living at The Hunt Hall, a house on the open moorland south of Goathland above Wheeldale Beck, which she and Patrick (who was that night staying in a hotel in York) had evidently taken as a country retreat.  At the beginning of September, Whitby Gazette's list of visitors to the town shows that Annabel was staying at the Station Hotel in Sleights.

1911 must have been the year of preparation.  1912 was a busy year.  On 19 January 1912, the Whitby Gazette reported that Mrs Dott's plans for eight cottages at Goathland had been approved ("Mrs Dott's house windows to be made to comply with the law").  According to Percy Ward's article, the conveyance of the Mortar Pit estate to Annabel and Patrick was dated 26 March 1912.  On 10 May 1912, the Whitby Gazette reported that at the meeting of the Whitby Rural District Council a letter from Mrs Dott was read out – she was asking for the sewerage arrangements to be improved by the Council.  On 20 December, the Rural District Council was told that plans had been received "for a dwelling-house at Goathland, for Mrs Dott, the plans having been prepared by that lady".  (They were approved and passed).  On the 27 December, in a list of building works completed or approved in the area during that year ("In the rural district, building has gone on apace"), the Gazette recorded that five of Mrs Dott's eight houses had been finished and three were in the course of construction, a cottage was to be built for Mrs Dott on the Mortar Pit estate, Goathland, and that a stone house at Goathland, for Mrs Dott, had been completed.

In the spring of 1913, Annabel's contact with the Council was on the subject of sewerage.  On 11 April, the Gazette reported that the Inspector of Nuisances (Mr F Lawson) had told the Council that 
The sewer on the Mortar Pit estate was extended some two hundred yards, through Mrs Dott's property.  I propose to extend this sewer some 70 yards further, and treat the sewage with a settling-tank and automatic filter (Fiddian).  This section takes the sewage from that part of Goathland bounded by the Wesleyan Chapel, Mrs Dott's, J Sleightholme's [Rose Cottage], and the Vicarage ... The sewer has been extended to Mrs Dott's house (above Captain Smailes' house [Fairhaven]) 183 yards, under my supervision.  Mrs Dott paid for this extension
But on 2 May 1913, the Gazette's report shows that the sewage problem was not quite yet resolved – Mrs Dott had written to the Council 
complaining of the discharge from drains near her house at Goathland.  The inspector ... said the drain had been extended to Mrs Dott's property, and he asked the Council's permission to continue the drain, which would do away with the complaint ...
And now the work was finished.

Whitby Gazette, 4 July 1913
Goathland
Supper – On Thursday night, last week, a supper to celebrate the completion of the erection of some new property for Mrs Dott, wife of the Rev W P Dott, Dringhouses, was held at Goathland.  There was a good gathering of workmen, and an enjoyable time was spent.  The principal toast of the evening was given by Mr Randolph Jowsey, who proposed the health of Mrs and the Rev Mr Dott.  At a convenient moment, occasion was taken to present a silver watch to Mr George Harland, the youngest member of the firm of Harland Brothers, Glaisdale, who had charge of the masons' and joiners' work in the new buildings.  The plastering work was done by Mr R Jowsey, Whitby
Randolph Jowsey advertised in the Whitby Gazette as a Plain & Ornamental Plasterer.  At the time of the supper party he was nearly 62 years old; the 1911 census records him living at 9 Well Close, Whitby with his wife and daughters.  I think the Harland Brothers of Glaisdale must have been George and Thomas Harland and that George Harland was the respected figure, immensely knowledgeable about local history and dialect, who was often quoted as a source in historical and architectural matters in later years.  His memoirs The Queen of the Dales: Anecdotes of an Octagenarian were published in 1970.  Percy Ward states that 
some of the joinery was the work of two local men, Messrs Sleightholme and Dowson; the latter living at Prudom House.
Agnes M Miall wrote (with some exaggeration, as there were Whitby and Glaisdale men working on the cottages)
So the cottages were built, ten of them, entirely by Goathland men, and both the men and the bold woman builder were justified by the fact that when the houses were completed people came from twenty miles round to see them.  A further compliment was that one house was sold as a country cottage to a rich York manufacturer for the high price of £2,000 ...
Annabel gave the cottages the name The Orchard.  Nowadays it is known as The Orchards.

What were Annabel's intentions when she built The Orchard?  She intended to let them, presumably to people wanting to spend a holiday in Goathland and perhaps also to people rather like herself, who wanted a country retreat or who needed to live for a time in the country air.  They were furnished (Percy Ward: "Mrs Dott then furnished the Orchard houses with old furniture from 'sales', etc.  I expect she called her purchases antiques!!") and had a shared garden of some two acres.  She had an advertising brochure printed – when Percy Ward wrote his article in 1976 there was still a copy of the brochure to be seen in the village.

I have found two advertisements for the cottages in 1915 in the To Let columns of the feminist periodical, The Common Cause (predecessor to The Women's Leader).  We don't know when Annabel's commitment to the cause of women's equality began, but she was evidently a reader of The Common Cause in 1915:-

Common Cause, 27 August 1915 
GOATHLAND, on the Yorkshire Moors.  Houses furnished with old oak.  5 bedrooms, 2 reception, Bath.  Attendance if wished.  Garden.  Golf - Mrs Dott, Orchard, Goathland 
WELL-FURNISHED SMALL HOUSE on Yorkshire Moors to Let for nine months.  Warm, well built, sanitary certificate; S. aspect, 5 bedrooms, 2 sitting.  Bath.  Near station, shops, and golf links.  Low rent to careful tenant. – Owner, Dringhouses Vicarage, York
Annabel designed the cottages to be as labour-saving as possible.  They would have appealed to middle-class people who could not afford much domestic help at a time when work in the house was very demanding of time and labour.  She laid particular emphasis on "fitment furniture", that is, built-in or fitted furniture:-
Great care was taken with the planning to save labour, a point in these servantless days; and most of the rooms have fitment furniture, some of oak, others of teak and fine old mahogany, 
she wrote in an article in the journal The Nineteenth Century and After in February 1919, and she was quoted in The Vote as saying
My first aim all through has been labour-saving, and many of the bedrooms are arranged with fitment furniture, wardrobe cupboards with oak or mahogany doors, chests of drawers built in to form dressing-tables and washstands, and the rooms arranged to save stairs.  
(Percy Ward: "Also fitted in were an assortment of items which had taken her fancy such as old bed posts")

Agnes M Miall in The Woman's Leader commented that Annabel, 
like every woman who knows how much work a house can make, believes in designing homes so that they do not exhaust an unnecessary ounce of the housewife's energy and temper; and from this standpoint particularly she believes that there is a future awaiting the woman builder. 
The Yorkshire Post on 19 October 1918 reported – and the words sound very like those of Annabel herself – that
The houses are built in pairs, but no two are alike.  They have thick stone walls, wide mullion diamond-paned windows, red roofs of old hand-made tiles.  They are of the best type of the old-fashioned cottage farmhouse.  Most have five bedrooms, each a big living-room, and nearly all a second small sitting-room, well-appointed kitchens and bathrooms, with a plentiful supply of hot water and hot linen cupboards.  
As with the house she built for herself and Patrick, light was an important consideration and she paid attention to the aspect of the rooms.  The Vote reports her as saying that 
Each house contains a big living-room, a chief bedroom, both of which face south, whilst the kitchen, larder, coal-cellar, guest-chamber, and bathroom face north
Annabel made good use of recycled timber in the cottages' construction.  They were built with 
heavy oak beams; several tons were procured when a bridge built a century ago on the Egton road needed repair, and they are massive and black and the pride of the cottages [Annabel's article in the Nineteenth Century and After, February 1919]
The "fitment furniture of oak or mahogany" had "a touch of the sea, for some of the wood was taken from the late King of Portugal's yacht, after it fell into the hands of the big ship-breaking firm at Vauxhall, and other timbers of oak and mahogany came from a disused whaling yard at Whitby." [The Vote]

According to Percy Ward, "some of the timber came from a Church in York which was being demolished, beams, panelling, and carved timber."

Agnes M Miall was enthusiastic on the subject of the fitment furniture – a feature which would have created a great deal more space in the rooms, saved dusting and polishing, and presumably made for a more airy, modern feel:  
[Mrs Dott's] description of these furnishings makes any woman's mouth water for one of her Goathland homes.  Imagine window-seats, inglenooks, screens and cupboards fitted into the most convenient places ... In the bedrooms, dressing-tables with drawers of all sizes built in underneath and washstands with boot cupboards fitted below, awaited the lucky families who took possession, and there are polished floors, doing away with the necessity for carpets.  If the day ever comes when all homes are built on the Goathland plan furniture removers will be forced to go out of business.


This photograph shows The Orchards today.  Anyone curious to see more can easily find the online advertisements for Sundial Cottage B&B and Curlew Cottage (holiday rental), which give views of the rear of those properties and of their interiors.  There have been many alterations to the nine cottages over the years and the shared garden established by Annabel was eventually divided between them. 

Very many thanks to 
Elsie Smith, a Trustee of Goathland Village Hall, who supplied me with the Percy Ward article
Past and present occupants of The Orchards for their kind help
Dr Elizabeth McKellar for information on Walter Brierley.  The papers relating to Walter Brierley's involvement in the project in 1917/18 and possibly before can be found in the Borthwick Institute Atkinson-Brierley papers