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Latitude: 51.7133 / 51°42'47"N
Longitude: -0.8733 / 0°52'23"W
OS Eastings: 477937
OS Northings: 202215
OS Grid: SP779022
Mapcode National: GBR C2P.G1Y
Mapcode Global: VHDVP.T65G
Entry Name: Lyde End
Listing Date: 20 August 2009
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1393428
English Heritage Legacy ID: 505615
Location: Bledlow-cum-Saunderton, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP27
Civil Parish: Bledlow-cum-Saunderton
Traditional County: Buckinghamshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire
Church of England Parish: Bledlow with Saunderton and Horsenden
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
BLEDLOW CUM SAUNDERTON
1116/0/10007 CHURCH END
Group of six houses of 1975-77 by Aldington and Craig (architect in charge, Paul Collinge).
EXTERIOR: Lyde End comprises six houses grouped around a gravelled courtyard, all but one of them single-storey. Of brown brick under red tile roofs and with some dark-stained weatherboarding, they share two common plans, and a common system of interlocking monopitch, tiled roofs enclosing spaces which extend through fully glazed openings to partly covered yards - each house has its own small courtyard. Large windows look out to these, whereas the more public faces of the houses, facing the courtyard, have smaller windows including some horizontal slits. A taller house (Number 5) marks the turn of the court. An open-fronted car shelter, resembling a traditional farm building, runs down the east side of the courtyard, gable-end on to the brick-walled entrance at the south-east corner of the courtyard.
INTERIOR: The interiors feature bare, unplastered brick walls; exposed, sloping, timber ceilings; brick floors with underfloor heating; and glazed end walls at the end of each living area (under one monopitch) look out on the courtyard and garden. The bedrooms are under the other monopitch. The smaller houses are of only 600 square metres yet have two bedrooms. The one larger house (Number 5), at the corner of the courtyard, has a second floor reached via a spiral staircase off a living room with large, exposed, concrete beams.
HISTORY: Lyde End is a development of six linked cottages with a courtyard and garden walls, built in 1975-7 to the designs of Paul Collinge of Aldington and Craig for Lord Carrington, subsequently Foreign Secretary. Lord Carrington conceived the development as low-cost housing for the village, and it is a model scheme that was one of the first anywhere to recognise the growing difficulty for country people on low incomes to find affordable housing in the south-east. The site, expressly purchased for the scheme, is opposite Lord Carrington's own house, and is adjacent to the River Lyde at the heart of the village near to the parish church. It replaced a derelict concrete warehouse that was found to be too expensive to convert. It was left to the architects to suggest the size and number of houses that would best fit the site. The only stipulation was that the result should make a contribution to, and genuinely form part of, the village, and that it should give a feeling of protection and homeliness to the occupants. Expressly the client did not want a neo-Georgian pastiche.
The practice of Peter Aldington, from 1970 Aldington and Craig and from 1980 Aldington, Craig and Collinge, is regarded as one of the most significant designers of houses from the post-war years. Its skill was in the marriage of modern materials with local vernacular traditions, and in building houses that were both modern and striking in their own right, yet which fitted immaculately into a historic setting. Their understanding of the local Buckinghamshire vernacular was exemplary, and this development nestles against the village street in a way that fits without making any compromises to pastiche. Peter Aldington has acknowledged Llewelyn Davies and Weeks's estate housing at Rushbrooke, Suffolk (listed grade II) as one of his early enthusiasms as a young architect, and the connecting walls and split pitches of the roofs here are perhaps the closest acknowledgement of this source in all his firm's work. The courtyard, and car port, are also reminiscent of the group of houses at Turn End, Haddenham (listed Grade II*) of which Aldington's own house forms part. The contractors described visiting Aldington's house to see the type of construction and quality of finish expected of them, and there is a strong consistancy in the details of the two groups. This is the first work for the firm for which the principal designer was Paul Collinge ('the only architect who ever thought like me', says Aldington).
After the houses were built Lyde End received four awards (RIBA Award Commendation 1978; DoE Award for Good Design in Housing 1978; Civic Trust Award 1978; and the Brick Development Association Award 1979). One jury member for the last-mentioned award noted: 'what an example of loving care! ... We were impressed by the site planning and the overall design which showed confidence in introducing new ideas into the handling of traditional materials' (Brick Bulletin). In 2008 Lyde End received a 2008 Housing Design award for 'Best of the Best' of the 1970s. Peter Aldington suggested in 2008 that Lyde End influenced a whole generation of architects, and remained much visited. The design was a conscious development of principles first used in the mid 1960s at the Turn, Middle Turn, and Turn End in Haddenham, Bucks (listed at Grade II in 1998; recently upgraded to Grade II*), adapted to relate to the setting and vernacular of Bledlow village. Both groups built on the precedent set by the Rushbrooke village housing (in Suffolk; listed at Grade II in 1998).
SOURCES: E. Harwood, England: A Guide to Post-War Listed Buildings (2003), 360-1, 396-7, 410-13; N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (1994), 182
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: Lyde End is listed, for the following principal reasons:
* Several of Peter Aldington's houses, and those of the firm Aldington and Craig, are already listed; this relatively late example of their work is clearly of comparable quality with the other buildings by the firm that are statutorily listed, and forms a fitting summation to the story of this important post-war practice.
* It has been, and remains, an influential commission and much-visited by architectural students.
* In particular, the very careful composition of the group, with variations on common design elements like monopitch roofs combined with the use of brick and other locally-used materials, has produced a highly functional, discrete, yet visually interesting group of houses.
* Internally the houses are carefully designed, with great attention to plan form, materials and finishes. They are extremely compact, yet remain highly fit for purpose and much liked by their inhabitants.
* This is an early response to the modern problem of rural housing becoming too costly for rural people. It was commissioned by a significant political figure, and thus has historic interest too.
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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