"The house retains outstanding mid-century features; a wood-panelled ceiling, hardwood parquet flooring and glazing arranged in a characterful composition."
This incredibly well-preserved five-bedroom house is positioned on Sunnyfield, a quiet cul-de-sac on The Ryde in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Designed in 1965 by the celebrated post-war British architect Sir Andrew Derbyshire, the house has only ever been occupied by the architect and his family and consequently retains outstanding mid-century features and many cleverly conceived design details.
A private driveway and garden separate the front of the house from the road and entrance is via a light lobby and hallway which introduces the original open-tread staircase. A bright living room with a mid-century wood-panelled ceiling and hardwood parquet floor opens out immediately ahead on the ground floor. Extensive glazing is arranged in a characterful composition. There is also a private back garden, secluded by mature trees.
A timber bi-fold door leads through from the living to the dining room. Beautifully crafted free-standing cabinetry provides an open division from the dining area to the original 1960’s kitchen. The utility room, coal store and an ingenious dustbin system designed by the architect, lead off from the kitchen and out to a single attached garage, complete with the original inspection hatch in the floor. Also located on the ground floor is Sir Andrew Derbyshire’s drawing room and study, a light room with extensive built-in book cases and parquet flooring underfoot.
Three bedrooms, the playroom and a bathroom can be found to one side of the first floor, each with wardrobes, in-built storage or shelving systems and access to what was once the flat roof terrace. The master bedroom overlooks the garden and a second bathroom sits opposite.
Hatfield, located 20 miles north of London, was one of several post-war New Towns built around the capital and as such, makes an easy base for London commuting. The town is well serviced for shops and local amenities, with Welwyn Garden City and St Albans also nearby. The house sits within the catchment area for a selection of good public and private schools, notably The Ryde School, which is less than five minutes walk away
Hatfield House, one of the UK’s finest example of Jacobean architecture, is of local interest and Stanborough Lakes, an excellent summer destination for open water swimming, is just a 10 minute journey by car.
Lease Length: approx. 999 years from September 1961
Service Charge: n/a
Ground Rent: £32.50 per annum
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.
Sir Andrew Derbyshire was knighted for his services to architecture in 1986, following an illustrious career with RMJM & Partners, a practice well known for its modernist, functional style, founded by Robert Matthew and Stirrat Johnson-Marshall in 1956.
Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire trained initially as a physicist and later at the postwar Architectural Association. In his early architectural career, he worked primarily in the public sector as schools architect for the West Riding of Yorkshire and deputy city architect for Sheffield.
Derbyshire was known for his astute intellect, sharp wit and liberal approach to both life and design. His progressive ideas were pivotal in the success of RMJM’s design of Central Hall, York University’s landmark post-war building (below). The construction is often considered a classic expression of 1960’s optimism and precursor to contemporary university planning in the UK. Derbyshire remained firmly faithfully to RMJM until his retirement in 1961. He lived a happy fifty years at 4 Sunnyfield with his family and wife, Lady Lily Derbyshire.