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Ketelfield and attached garden terrace and steps at the south elevation

A Grade II Listed Building in Higham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 51.9852 / 51°59'6"N

Longitude: 0.9588 / 0°57'31"E

OS Eastings: 603269

OS Northings: 235996

OS Grid: TM032359

Mapcode National: GBR SM2.H77

Mapcode Global: VHKFM.KCQH

Entry Name: Ketelfield and attached garden terrace and steps at the south elevation

Listing Date: 23 January 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1416968

Location: Higham, Babergh, Suffolk, CO7

County: Suffolk

District: Babergh

Civil Parish: Higham

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Higham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

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A detached house of 1975-78, designed by Peter Aldington of Aldington Craig.


A detached dwelling of 1975-78 designed by Peter Aldington of Aldington Craig for Harold and Joan Wedgwood.

MATERIALS: a bolted steel frame with double-glazed units and insulated double Douglas Fir panels, on a brick and concrete semi basement, with a concrete sub-frame.

PLAN: Ketelfield has a broadly rectangular plan with open-plan living and kitchen facilities, and bedrooms and bathrooms on the east side, segregated by a heavily soundproofed plasterboard and plywood partition.

EXTERIOR: the building is single storey with a flat roof. The main entrance to the house is from the sloping north side, across a pedestrian bridge, which leads to the recessed entrance porch, partly clad with timber, and a plain, solid timber entrance door. The elevations are similar. The steel frame is exposed; double-glazed and plywood panels, designed to be interchangeable, with half-width panels of louvered glass openings, are separated vertically by narrow aluminium mullions. On the north and east elevations the panels are plywood painted black rather than glass, providing privacy for the entrance and bedrooms.

INTERIOR: the open-plan living areas have wooden panelled walls and replaced wooden flooring. There is a sliding glazed partition between the living room and conservatory, and a sliding wooden partition between the dining area and kitchen. Adjacent to the kitchen is a narrow utility area with steps down to the semi-basement and a secondary door leading to the garden. The doors, kitchen cupboards and joinery are contemporary. In the living area is a simply designed fireplace with a metal surround and tiled floor and in the dining room an introduced woodburner.

An axial plywood partition to the east of the dining room and utility room demarcates the sleeping area. A narrow corridor, top-lit by round sky lights, gives access to three bedrooms and two bathrooms; one of which retains its original Adamsez Meridian fittings. The corridor and master bedroom have in-built cupboards.

On the south side, facing the garden, is a raised steel terrace with two sets of steps leading down to the lawn.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 11/05/2015


Ketelfield was known originally as Wedgwood House, designed for Harold and Joan Wedgwood by Peter Aldington (partner with Aldington Craig) and built between 1975 and 1978. Mr and Mrs Wedgwood owned a large Victorian house, set within extensive grounds, lying in Suffolk’s Dedham Vale. Powers describes how Joan Wedgwood was impressed with the house built for Mr Quilter in 1964, designed by Peter Aldington (listed at Grade II as Clayton House, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire) and wanted to build something similar on the former tennis court in the grounds of the house, giving a view over the Stour Valley and allowing the Wedgwoods to ‘live in the garden’.

The Wedgwoods envisaged a building where brick and timber would be the palette, but having fully briefed John Craig, the final design was a single-storey, black-painted, steel-framed house with expansive glass walling, raised above the ground by a semi- basement intended for storage. Inspiration for the design was taken from Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. Anthony Hunt was the consulting engineer and proposed a floor of pre-cast concrete sections to stabilise the structure. The steel-work was prefabricated off the site and bolted together in situ, rather than welded, as this was cheaper.

Some of the fabric has been altered; the maple wooden floor covering to the living areas has been restored; the quarry tiled coverings to the hall and exterior terrace have been replaced (although the tiles to the entrance bridge, porch and conservatory remain). Some panels of the double-glazed walling have been replaced.

Reasons for Listing

Ketelfield, a house in Suffolk by Aldington and Craig of 1975-78, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: as an early and rare example of a bespoke, well-proportioned, steel-framed private house in England, referencing MiesVan der Rohe’s seminal Farnsworth House, meticulously adapted to integrate with and respect its setting;
* Architects: as part of the oeuvre of the nationally renowned architectural practice of Aldington and Craig, who have a number of listed buildings to their name;
* Interior: the interior layout is thoughtfully arranged and the fixtures and fittings meticulously designed;
* Intactness: the building is little altered externally and internally.

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