"A fine example of Oliver Hill's iconic brand of modernism, positioned minutes from the beaches of Frinton-on-Sea."
This three bedroom detached property is a fine example of the celebrated Modern Movement houses built for the Frinton Park Estate seaside development. The house is situated on a private road and is a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Built in 1934-5, and designed by Oliver Hill, this is one of the 35 houses built for a development intended to showcase the best in British modern design. The country’s most innovative young architects (including Wells Coates, Frederick Gibberd, and Connell, Ward & Lucas) were invited to participate in what was to be Britain’s most ambitious Modernist settlement.
Many of the original period features remain including beautiful white rendered exteriors, original parquet flooring throughout and large, curved windows that flood the interior in sunlight.
The front door leads onto a hallway with WC which has a kitchen to one side with some original fittings and a large, bright living/dining room to the other. The dining area leads out through full-length doors to the mature garden. From the kitchen an original porthole door leads to a utility space featuring shower, storage and larder. A further feature on the ground floor is an integrated garage, with original sliding doors, which is currently used as a studio space but can easily be returned to its original use.
Upstairs, the first floor has three bedrooms, a family bathroom and separate WC. The master bedroom, currently used as a second reception room, is a light filled space that enjoys distant sea views and access to a balcony, a feature of many Hill houses.
At the front of the house there is off street parking on a curved drive bordered by shrubs and a damson tree, as well as a separate double-length garage. To the rear is a mature private garden with lilac trees, a pond and a side section lined by a well-established grapevine which enjoyed a bumper crop in 2018.
Frinton-on-Sea is a picturesque town with a growing community interested in preserving its architectural heritage. The town offers plentiful amenities including a range of coffee shops and bars, grocery, chemist, newsagent and bakeries, further enhanced by the recent addition of a large Marks and Spencer supermarket just five minutes’ drive from the house. For the sporting, the town has thriving golf, tennis and cricket clubs.
Further services can be found in the nearby seaside towns of Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze. A little further afield is the larger town of Colchester. Frinton offers a train service to London Liverpool Street in one hour and twenty minutes (the station is a ten minute walk from the house).
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.
In 1934 the South Coast Investment Company Ltd bought 200 acres of land straddling the railway line to the north-east of Frinton. They proposed an ambitious development, the Frinton Park Estate, which was to include 1,100 houses, a town hall, college, churches, a shopping complex, and a sweeping cliff-face hotel. The 40 acres east of the railway line and closest to the sea was designated as a showcase for modern houses, and Oliver Hill was chosen by the company as the principal architect for the estate, responsible for supervising its overall design and layout. Hill was insistent on the employment of a number of young, progressive architects, including Wells Coates, Maxwell Fry, Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, Tecton, FRS Yorke, Frederick Gibberd and others.
By the end of 1935 the project had foundered. Many of the architects had already withdrawn, and Hill resigned in August of that year. Ultimately, the scheme failed because of the conflict between the idealism of the architects and the need for profit, and because of the difficulty of selling experimental design and new materials (such as concrete) to a suspicious and conservative public. Only about 40 modernist houses and part of the shopping centre had been built. Oliver Hill had designed 12 houses, of which ten survive.
According to English Heritage, “Despite the recent replacement of the glazing, the building remains a strong architectural statement with the striking use of the circular plan, projecting ‘skirt’ and the position of the building as a focal point of the model estate.”