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'Remarkable' early Amyas Connell house goes on market

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A seminal, early 1930s Modernist house by architect Amyas Connell has gone up for sale for £2.3 million

The five bedroom home near Haslemere in Surrey, is described by specialist estate agent Modern House as ‘one of the most remarkable and admired in the history of British architecture’ and is listed at Grade II*

It was built for the original owner, Arthur Lowes Dickinson between 1931 and 1933, and was refurbished by Avanti Architects in 1993.

The description on The Modern House website says: ‘The house remains remarkably true to Connell’s original scheme, a design that priorities quality of light and space. ‘

Current resident, retired car designer John Heffernan, said that he was selling the property, which he bought in 1997, in order to travel the world.

He said: ‘There are around five hectares of gardens – it is one of the best Modernist houses with so much of its own land around it – but it needs maintaining which I won’t be able to do if I am away.’

He said that he had only discovered the original advert for the house because the wrong paper – the Daily Telegraph – had been delivered to his previous house.

He said he would miss living in the property, which had been a ‘wonderful experience’.

‘You get lots of people coming to visit you just because of the architecture. We took part in a Haslemere open architecture day and 300 people came to look around.

‘It is now well liked locally, which is a far cry from the 1960s when a local mayor threatened to have it torn down because he said it was a monstrosity.’

The only challenge, Heffernan said, had been keeping the house warm in winter months. ‘People expect the whole house to be toasty but you really have to pick the rooms you are going to be in to keep warm,’ he said.

Raymond McGrath in his book ‘Twentieth Century Houses’ published in 1934, said of the house, which was previously named Pollard: “Viewed from the air, viewed from any angle some judges say, Pollard is more like an invention by Picasso than a house.

‘However if there is any sense – and there certainly is – in Corbusier’s argument that “the plan is the first cause; without a plan there is no order, no law”, then there is much to be said for the direction the architect has taken in his design. It is a plan full of thought, not limited by the old ideas of balance.’

Connell, alongside Basil Ward and Colin Lucas, one of the most important British architecture practices of the 20th Century, Connell, Ward & Lucas.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • What a snip. The price would hardly buy a small neo-Georgian town house in a dense development only a few miles north of Haslemere. Maybe the RIBA will buy it to act as a centre for the promotion of architecture in an area that certainly needs architecture!

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