These houses are next to one another in a street I visited in Letchworth Garden City today. They were built in the inter-war years in the vernacular, Arts and Crafts tradition established by Raymond Parker and Richard Unwin, and although they’re unique they appear familiar because the Letchworth style dominated suburban England between the wars. Jonathan Meades, in a scathing opinion piece on Letchworth (below), described this kind of architecture as a trip down false-memory lane.
I think it was Colin Ward who pointed out that the design of Letchworth seemed to realise the world invented by Kate Greenaway (below). Its characteristics are whitewashed roughcast walls, gables, dormer windows, hanging tiles, timber boarding, low-slung roofs, casements and mullions.
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A fascinating photo-tour! They could indeed be ‘almost anywhere’ as I can vouch for their near relatives having been built in Kansas City during the same period. The Arts and Crafts aesthetic traveled far in the vacuum created by loss of truly traditional forms and discomfort with pure modernism… Though I doubt the sense of fantasy was as strong here!
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