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Record details

BCC record ID:1246000000
Type of record:Building
Summary:'International Modern Style' house called High and Over, built in 1930.
Grid Reference:SU 96629 97393

AMERSHAM, Chiltern, Buckinghamshire

Monument type(s)

  • HOUSE (Built 1930 20th Century - 1900 AD to 1999 AD)
  • (Former) COUNTRY HOUSE (20th Century - 1900 AD to 1999 AD)

Associated finds: none recorded

Protected status

  • Listed Building

Public access information

Is the site accessible to the public?No
Is the site visible from a public viewpoint?Unclassified

Full description

Grade II+. Country house, now divided into two dwellings. 1930 by Amyas D Connell for Bernard Ashmole, Professor of Classical Archaeology at London University. Concrete frame, infilled with cavity wall construction externally of brick and with concrete block internally. Y-shaped plan designed to catch the sun and views across the Misbourne valley, with hexagonal centrepiece incorporating main and garden entrances and projecting staircase. Two storeys with partial basement, a third nursery floor over servants' wing gives on to flat roof with concrete canopies over. Single stack. Basement garage and store under west wing. Exteriors. All windows of metal, many in steel plated soffits. Near symmetrical entrance front, with central chrome-plated steel double doors flanked by continuous strip windows which curve round the central projections of the house. North wing of house originally housed kitchen and servants' quarters, and there is a projecting trades entrance to left. To right, wall hides drive to garage. To side, steps lead to garden. Garden elevation with central metal-framed, glazed double doors, and regular fenestration to ground floor. The first floor similar, but with two blind bays. The upper floor denoted by two concrete canopies over rooftop garden, incorporating hooks for hammocks and swing, and sandpit. Central projecting balcony with open steel sides. Terrace continues across garden front, with steps down to lower garden. To right, the terrace ends in concrete pergola which frames the end of the east wing. East wing with projecting first floor oriel. Road elevation with central projecting staircase, continuously glazed to ground and first floors. Long, continuous strip windows to second floor. Interior. Now divided into two units. Central hexagonal hallway divided from front door, but retains original polished limestone floor inset with glass and traces of central fountain. Central circular opening to first floor with solid balustrade, the first floor reached via spiral staircase with similar balustrade. Staircase continues to second floor, but now blocked. On ground floor, former library retains bookcases, and first floor retains light fitting over oriel window, metal surrounds, and fitted cupboards. The front door now in the other unit. This has the former living room, with asymmetrical, stepped fireplace with flat light fitting flush to ceiling over. In dining room there survives original floors, metal surrounds and light fitting to wall and ceiling which was installed to entirely light glass shelving or sideboard. Sprial service staircase. Of outstanding importance as the first truly convincing essay in the international style in England, one of only two buildings included in the exhibition `The International Style' held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, under the curatorship of Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in 1932. It is the first work by Connell, who with Basil Ward and Colin Lucas formed the most important architectural practice designing modern movement houses in the inter-war period. Sources Country Life, vol. LXX, 1931, p.302 Architect and Building News, 29 November 1929, 3 January 1930, 26 June 1931, and 3 July 1931. Architectural Association Journal, May 1956 Dennis Sharp, Connell Ward and Lucas, 1995 (B1).

Sources and further reading

<1>Bibliographic reference: DoE. 1984. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Buckinghamshire: Chiltern District: Parishes of Amersham, Chesham Bois and Coleshill. p60, Amended (date unknown)
<2>Unpublished document: Nicky Smith (BCM). 1998. Smith N 1998 Historic Parks and Gardens Register Review.

Associated excavations and fieldwork: none recorded

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