Friday, 15 October 2010
The True Levellers and a Modernist Masterpiece.
Just outside Esher on the Portsmouth Road is an area of woodland known as The Ledges. This fairly unremarkable site is a favourite with local dog walkers but most people probably don't give it a second glance as they drive past. If you wander into the woods for a couple of hundred yards you come to a steep drop down to the valley of the River Mole. That high ground that you can see away to the west and on the other side of the valley is St Georges Hill where the Diggers, the True Levellers, played out that iconic act of propaganda by deed and declared the earth a common treasury for all. St Georges Hill is now, I'm told, the site of as unpleasant, uptight and tasteless a gated development as you could ever stumble across. Turn your back on this scene, it's all in the past, and walk in a southeasterly direction for a few minutes and you will be cheered up immediately for there, hidden in the woods, is a 1930's Modernist classic. We tend to think of Stalinist Brutalism and high rise horrors when Modernism is mentioned but there were very many projects built on a far more human scale. Built as a family home The Homewood is a Modernist masterpiece. There is something about the sight of a piece of Modernist architecture surrounded by trees, the juxtoposition of nature and the clean lines and modern materials, that just lifts my spirits. In an area blighted by both faux Arts And Crafts and the worst of Barratt Homes, The Homewood is a wonder to behold.