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ESSEX Architecture Weekend / The Modernist County

2 September 2016

Take a trip back in time to modernistEssex this September with Radical Essex, and explore some of most impressiveand important architectural sites of the movement.

To celebrate the pioneering role of Essexin 20th century architecture, Radical Essex are running aweekend-long programme of events at multiple venues across the county on Saturday10th and Sunday 11th September 2016.

The event centres around the threemodernist estates of Silver End, Bata East Tilbury and Frinton-on-Sea. SilverEnd Village will act as a base for the weekend’s activities, hosting aprogramme of talks, music, film screenings and events.
EAW-Wolverton-Catherine-Hyland.jpg.jpg
The village of Silver End was conceived in1926 by Francis Henry Crittall, an industrialist and the founder of CrittallWindows Ltd. Crittall was inspired by the Garden Villages of Port Sunlight inMerseyside and Bourneville near Birmingham, so began to plan a village for his factoryworkers where they could live and socialise. The modernist-designed homes wereahead of their time and featured distinctive white and green facades, flat roofsand the factory’s steel framed windows. A guided walking tour of the area will takein some of the most notable housing designs on the estate.
Another notable and historic modernistworking estate, Bata East Tilbury, will also be featuring in the weekend’sevents. Members of the Bata Heritage Centre will conduct a walking tour of thehouses built for workers at the Bata Shoe Factory and the old rubber factory,as well as an exhibition and an architectural tour of one of the modernisthomes on the estate.
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Other highlights for us are the tours inone of our favourite Essex destinations, Frinton-on-Sea, which retains an airof vintage charm with more than a little thanks to the FrintonPark Estate. In 1934 the South Coast Property Investment Company Ltdbought a 200-acre plot with plans to build a whole estate of 1000 groundbreakingart deco houses – but after a series of problems such as buyers pulling out andhigh costs, the company folded in 1936 after only around 40 homes had beenbuilt. Despite this fact, around 15 original properties still remain, makingthe estate one of the largest groups of modernist houses in the UK.
Including the goings on in Silver End, BataEast Tilbury and Frinton-on-Sea, over twenty individual modernist buildings acrossthe county will be open to the public for bookable tours. Five historicalexhibitions, drop-in family workshops, architectural commissions and variousguided/self-guided walking tours of key modernist locations are also among theplanned events – many of which are free.
Visitors can take advantage of the freeshuttle buses which will link the five key architectural locations – Bata EastTilbury, Dunton Plotlands, Silver End, the University of Essex ColchesterCampus and Frinton-on-Sea.
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As an Essex-based business ourselves, we areparticularly excited about the opportunity to look around two of the impressivemodernist houses in Clatterfield Gardens in Westcliff-on-Sea designed by DouglasNiel Martin-Kaye, and Berthold Lubetkin’s grade-II listed villa ‘the SunshineHouse’ in Romford, which won a Gold Medal at the local 1934 Modern HomesExhibition. We’ve booked our tickets! See you there.
For more information and to book tours andtalks, visit the Radical Essex website.
All images are © CatherineHyland. Courtesy Focal Point Gallery.

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