Wedgwood House is one of Britain’s undiscovered architectural gems. Set in 3.35 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in a tranquil Suffolk vale, this Grade II-listed, three / four bedroom house is an example of Modern architecture at its finest.
It was designed by the renowned architects Peter Aldington and John Craig in 1974, the former being notable for having more of his houses listed by English Heritage than any other post war architect. Like the classic Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Illinois, USA (an obvious influence on Aldington & Craig), Wedgwood House is conceived as a steel-framed glass pavilion floating in the landscape. Measuring approximately 2,161 sq ft, the house also has a large full height basement which would be fantastic for storage.
The grounds at the Wedgwood House are of a rare quality and are not only picturesque but highly productive. Fruits including apples, pears, plums, peaches, quinces and damsons grow in the historic walled orchard and many vegetables and herbs grow in the vegetable garden. As well as the walled orchard and vegetable garden there are level lawns, a car parking area, copse and field. There are also various sheds and small outbuildings for garden storage.
The house can be found in Higham, a much sought-after village in the Dedham Vale. The entire village is encompassed in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the surrounding landscape appears much the same as it appears in the artist John Constable’s celebrated paintings of the area. The house occupies one of the most enviable positions in this favoured village.
Higham is easily reached by road from the A12 from London. By rail the nearest stations are Manningtree and Colchester, both of which run services to Liverpool Street in under an hour. Although there are plenty of good farm shops and country pubs and restaurants in the area, there are a wider range of services available in Colchester or Ipswich.
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
Wedgwood House was originally designed by Peter Aldington and John Craig for Harold and Joan Wedgwood, a wealthy couple who were leaving a substantial Victorian house and wanted something entirely different. Harold Wedgwood commented when living there that (quoted in ‘Aldington, Craig and Collinge’ by Alan Powers):
“we wanted sun, orientation, to live in the garden… we gained all those things. We would never return to a traditional house; our previous one was three times the size but it had less than half the useable space we have now”.
The house was something of a departure for Aldington and Craig as they usually preferred brick and timber as opposed to steel and glass. The beauty and size of the garden, however, dictated a building that seemingly ‘floated’ in the landscape and impacted on it as little as possible. As the architecture critic Martin Richardson wrote in ‘Architectural Review’,
“[the design] confounds their early reputation for richly timbered and sculpted houses… though on closer examination each of their buildings shows a remarkably fresh approach. What emerges in common is the completeness and conviction with which the concept of each is carried through into every detail. What is fascinating is the contrast between the Miesian image of the building (see Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe, right) and the Englishness of… a site in Constable country… a walled garden, the clients growing their own vegetables… bottling jam…”.
Richardson also commented on the way that the high quality of joinery helped “the lovely though demanding harmony”.
Wedgwood House is one of the least known of the houses worked on by Peter Aldington. Perhaps the best known is his own house in Buckinghamshire or Anderton House in Devon (owned by the Landmark Trust), both of which are listed by English Heritage and have been widely discussed and documented. Aside from Martin Richardson’s comments, above, one of the few people to have written about Wedgwood House is the architectural historian Charles McKean who described it as:
“A compact steel pavilion located… on the edge of superb garden. The form of the house is a direct consequence of the owners wishing to live in the middle of the garden, yet retaining the fine view: hence the height above the ground, and the garden room which itself opens out into the garden. The house floats above the ground making it seem less substantial that it is.”