Isokon and Blythburgh
One house in Blythburgh can legitimately claim to represent the modern movement in twentieth-century architecture: "Isokon" in Dunwich Road. It was designed in the early 1960s by Jennifer and Colin Jones for Jennifer's father Jack, and Molly Pritchard.
Self-effacing behind a vertically-slatted wooden fence, it is a simple single-storey, rectilinear design. A flat roof enables the house to settle into the landscape, and avoid the interruption of others’ views. The house has a timber frame, clad with Western red cedar, and was built and partly assembled in Martham Boat Yard before erection on the site. Inside, one large living space, almost entirely glass-walled, and divided by a chimney-stack, makes the most of the view towards the river. A separate pavilion provides additional accommodation. Behind banks of dug-out earth there is a solar-heated swimming pool, and a sauna.
Jack Pritchard (1899-1992) was one of the great champions of 1930s modernism. He commissioned Wells Coates to build the Lawn Road flats, described by Pevsner as "giant’s work of the 1930s". The flats were "the heart of iconoclastic Hampstead", where gathered England's avant-garde. Marcel Breuer and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, refugees from the Bauhaus, designed furniture and graphics for Jack Pritchard's company Isokon (from "Isometric Unit Construction"). Breuer’s "Long Chair" became a twentieth–century classic, and the modest "Isokon Donkey" still houses many collections of Penguin books. Jack Pritchard even commissioned an exhibition stand for Olympia from Le Corbusier.
The Bauhaus, the most influential art and design school of this century, was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919. Harassed by the Nazis, Gropius came to England in 1934, where he was met by Jack Pritchard who provided him with a home and sponsored his partnership with the architect Maxwell Fry. This led to Gropius’s only public building in Britain before he left for the United States, Impington Village College in Cambridgeshire.
During the 1939–45 war Jack Pritchard worked for Government Ministries. He visited the United States, and was impressed by a Gropius/Breuer housing development that took full advantage of a sloping site to let the sun in, exploiting its winter value for space heating. He used this idea in Blythburgh many years later. After the war he worked for Bratt Colbran, Lebus and GKN, and became the first director of the Furniture Development Council.
"Plywood Pritchard" (from his association with the firm Venesta) could almost have been the model for Osbert Lancaster's Hampstead progressive, drawn in a twentieth–century functional room in his "Homes, Sweet Homes". Fiona MacCarthy described him as one of the great ideologists of 1930s modernism. He left in Blythburgh a house designed for his retirement, not the heady days of his working career, but it allied the outcome of design revolutions with a fitness for purpose and sensitivity for its village site.
Further reading: Jack Pritchard, View from a Long Chair (1984)
Alan Mackley, Blythburgh, January 1995
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Some Favourite Websites For August 2021:
Southwold Model Yacht Regattas – Boating down on Southwold sea front
The Southwold Regattas are held every year on the boating lake by the pier. Events are open to all and new sailors and spectators are very welcome however new sailors should contact the committee before turning up to the event.
North Manor Farmhouse – Ensuite B&B accommodation in beamed Suffolk farmhouse close to the Suffolk coast and Southwold
Two B&B rooms, both with en-suite. Guest lounge with open fire. Discount for stay exceeding three nights. Sorry, dogs not accepted.
PJN Motor Engineering – Very high quality local sevice
PJN Motor Engineering has been established in Wenhaston for many years and is based on providing a very high quality repair and maintenance service for all car and motorcycle types. Check them out if you need a quick fix or a full overhaul!
Pub Stops – Halesworth or Darsham Pub-Stops Guide
This web site is a light hearted attempted to travel the local rail network, from Halesworth or Darsham, stopping at fine pubs and where possible encouraging similar real ale loving folks to do likewise!
St James Village Orchard – A beautifully well kept natural space cared for and maintained by the community
At the western edge of the small Suffolk village of St James South Elmham is a triangular shaped field of about one acre, bounded on two sides by Metfield Road and Common Road and known as the Greshaw Green Enclosure. The St James Village Orchard Project has transformed the enclosure into a flourishing community orchard.