The Twentieth Century Society

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Visit to the Sugden House by Alison & Peter Smithson
24/06/2018 - 24/06/2018
Sugden House by Alison and Peter Smithson c James O Davies/Historic England

Derek and Jean Sugden commissioned this house in Watford from Alison and Peter Smithson in 1953-4. Derek Sugden was an engineer with Ove Arup and Partners, and was later a founder partner of Arup Associates and Arup Acoustics, and met Peter Smithson through his friend and colleague Ronald Jenkins, the engineer for Hunstanton School and a regular collaborator with the Smithsons. It was their first built work that used brick and concrete in an honest, expressive way, and when completed in 1956 it was a model of the New Brutalism. The Sugdens lived there happily for the rest of their lives, making almost no alterations save for a new boiler. The design was largely Peter's but internal features in the kitchen and living room are by Alison. Sadly, Derek died in December 2015 and the house is now on the market, so this is a unique opportunity to see the house in its original condition. As Derek's loves included opera and fine wine, the visit will include a drink in his memory.

The house is at the end of Devereux Drive, in large grounds. There is limited street parking nearby, but the house is only a 15-20 minute walk from Watford Junction BR station or Watford tube. Subject to demand, there will be two tours (at 1.30pm and 3.30pm), led by Elain Harwood and the Sugden's daughter-in-law Helen Tether. Derek and Jean's daughter Caroline and son-in-law Roger Hillier, will be there to answer questions. Numbers are strictly limited.

Cost: £12


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