Matlock, Derbyshire


Architect: John Humpston

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"Pitched ceilings and a mezzanine level, work harmoniously to create an interplay of spaces which, together with the picture windows, offer a dramatic sense of volume in the communal areas."

Occupying a wonderful position, perched high above the Derwent Valley, is this beautifully original, four-bedroom house, designed by John Humpston. Completed in 1967, the house shares similar inspirations as those of his contemporary, Peter Aldington; exhibiting a characteristic palette of carefully preserved mid-century materials, including quarry tiles, whitewashed brickwork and pine cladding.

Space and light are the organising principles of the house; three large panels of floor-to-ceiling glazing provide breathtaking views out across the rolling countryside, towards Darley Dale and the gateway to the Peak District National Park. Pitched ceilings and a mezzanine floor, work harmoniously to create an interplay of spaces which, together with the picture windows, offer a dramatic sense of volume in the communal areas of the house.

Accommodation is divided over three levels. Entry is gained at street-level, where a beautiful wooden spiral staircase, set into a circular brickwork stairwell, provides access to the first floor communal spaces. An open-plan living and dining room occupies the majority of this floor. Heather Brown Welsh quarry tiles run across these areas and around a beautiful brick fireplace and wood-burner. A dining niche is set back within a circular brick recess, which mirrors the stairwell on the opposite side of the house. The kitchen is accessed through the living room, which was extended some years after the house was finished, leading on to a generous pantry and office space, with walls of exposed mill stone grit. A glazed door provides side access to the garden.

The garden rises up attractively behind the house with mature plants and shrubs artfully arranged between the boulders of mill stone grit which make up the steeps sides of the Derwent Valley. A winding path leads up to the top of the garden, offering further elevated views above the house and beyond.

Four bedrooms are arranged across the first floor on either side of the roof’s pitch. There is also a family bathroom with cork tiles and original Armitage fittings and an original 1970s Signet shower. A guest suite with en-suite bathroom is positioned at the northern end of the house. Beneath the house, positioned on the lower-ground floor, is a garage and a driveway with space for two cars.

The village of Hackney is situated at the south-eastern edge of the Peak District, between the larger towns of Matlock and Darley Dale. The village is positioned on the edge of the Peak District National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty famed for its walking, cycling and wildlife watching. Steep limestone valleys like Dovedale, with its famed stepping stones, and Lathkill Dale characterise the park’s southern area and draw visitors from around the world.

The rolling hills of Derbyshire have rich industrial roots, forming the backdrop for many innovations of the industrial revolution. The area is home to the knitwear manufacturer, John Smedley which continues to produce hand-crafted knitwear from its Lea Mills factory, powered by a neighbouring brook, just outside of Matlock.

Nearby Matlock Bath rose to popularity as a Victorian spa town and continues to thrive on tourism, attracting visitors to its warm springs and hiking trails and bucolic views.

The nearest train stations are Matlock and Chesterfield, which run services to Derby, Sheffield and Manchester. Trains to London run in approximately two hours. There is also good road access to the A6 and the M1.

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.




Built in 1967, on the site of a former parish quarry, this house was a private commission carried out by local architect John Humpston.

Before setting up his own practice with his colleague Brain Taylor, Humpston was a senior architect for the Derbyshire County Council architects’ department, where he was notably in charge of the design and build of Chesterfield library.

Humpston has explained that he designed this particular house as a private commission, while working at the D.C.C. architects’ department, and some of the house’s flourishes seem to betray his excitement in this personal aspect of his work.

He was very particular about the materials to be used inside and out; these stipulations have resulted in a coherent palette of materials which survive remain in place and include beautiful pine cladding, welsh quarry tiles and white-painted sand limes, which are reminiscent of the early work of Peter Aldington.

Humpston’s drawings of the south-west elevation exclude a dormer roof which was added at a later date to accommodate the addition of a further bedroom, as well as the extended living room and kitchen. However, the original plans illustrate the importance of the circular stairwell and its echoed dining snug at respective ends of the house. The majority of Humpston’s original design features remain to this day and form essential parts of this rare and wonderful modern home.

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