An application for the ‘modification of a covenant which does not allow additions or alterations so as to affect the external appearance of 11 houses’ would seem to offer little scope for literary flair. But the judgment in Rakesh Patel & Ors v Liam Philip Spender & Ors proves otherwise. The historical reverie of upper tribunal judge Elizabeth Cooke and Mr Mark Higgins makes one positively hanker to move to the storied locale they describe so charmingly.

Samuel Pepys

‘Ferry Street is a pleasant street in Docklands, lined with town houses and rich in history; the pub on the corner dates from 1737. The street takes its name from the ferry that plied between the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs and Greenwich; the first documented mention of a ferry across the Thames in this location was in 1450 but it is thought to be older. Some two hundred years later the ferry was mentioned by Samuel Pepys [pictured] in his diary, and it eventually closed for business in 1892. That, however, is not the end of the story. During world war two the Greenwich Foot Tunnel was damaged by a German bomb and the ferry was temporarily reinstated, a pier being created from some redundant barges.’

Maybe the judges learned all that on a field trip. They inspected the properties and went inside three – though whether they ventured in to the ‘pub on the corner’ is not disclosed. The application failed, incidentally.