The Ryde IX
Hatfield, Hertfordshire


Architect: Phippen, Randall & Parkes

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“Part of a post-war scheme described by English Heritage as 'the leading English manifestation of the courtyard house'”

Filled with original features and on the market for the first time, this three-bedroom house sits in a leafy spot of the Grade II-listed Cockaigne Housing Group development. Designed with the mid-century ethos of indoor/outdoor living in mind, the modular plan extends around an internal courtyard and a light-filled conservatory, with gardens at the front and back of the house. The house is a 10-minute walk from Hatfield Station, where trains run to London King’s Cross in around 25 minutes.

The Building

These exceptional single-storey houses, conceived by architects Peter Phippen, Peter Randall and David Parkes, form what is regarded as one of the finest post-war housing schemes in Britain. Built between 1963 and 1966, they were designed around internal courtyards and set out with linear front-to-back layouts of flowing spaces that vary in length. Together they form a long, staggered and unified terrace. For more information, see the History section.

The Tour

The lateral, dark timber weatherboard of the building is playfully contrasted by Corbusian pops of blue. Access is via a paved driveway with a garage and Mediterranean plantings. The chic entryway brings a West Coast modernism feel to this part of Hertfordshire. Inside, a low-lying plan of almost 1,500 sq ft unfolds, adhering to the mid-century inclination for flowing, interconnected rooms.

Entry is to the glazed conservatory, which was once an open-air courtyard. A sense of the outdoors has been retained, however, with a concord grape vine growing along the side wall. Its canopy extends over the space, filtering the light that enters from above. There are two doors from here; one to the kitchen, one to a hallway currently used as a study. A handy WC sits adjacent.

The kitchen sits at the heart of the house and is lit by a skylight. A contemporary renovation has integrated Miele and Bosch appliances within its white cabinetry. A retained 1960s dining hatch opens the space to the adjacent dining room, where there is a wealth of original pine panelling. A second roof light illuminates this area.

A bedroom, used by the current owners as a snug, lies on the opposite side of the plan, with doors that fold away to create a tripartite entertaining space. Glazing overlooks an internal courtyard, which can be accessed via the dining room.

The main living room sits at the back of the plan and also borrows light from the courtyard. Here, double doors open to a rear paved patio, perfect for extending the living spaces during the warmer months. Light enters through the wall of glazing to fall on the pine panelling and shelving that surrounds the room.

Two further bedrooms retain period built-in cupboards and storage. The primary bedroom has an en suite and opens to the rear patio, while the other room is lit by a deep roof light. A family bathroom with a shower serves the second room and is finished with Italian tiles.

Outdoor Space

The house has two distinct outdoor spaces: an internal courtyard and a terrace garden that opens from the rear living space. The garden has been deftly landscaped by Cleve West, with sculptural elements installed by Johnny Woodford. With three delineated spaces, there is ample room for tables, loungers, and quiet places to read. To the back of the garden, a playful black and mahogany hued sculptural fence is a cheery addition that harmonises with the home’s external finish.

The owners of the houses that make up the development share the extensive communal gardens of almost three acres on the western edges of each plot. The gardens include a tennis court and a secure children’s play area. There is also an invaluable community house that plays host to yoga sessions, supper clubs, birthday parties and festive get-togethers. This also houses a self-contained flat, bookable for a nominal fee.

The Area

The Ryde sits a mile from the wonderful green expanses of Hatfield House and Gardens; for a small charge, residents of this area are entitled to apply for a pass that grants year-round access. For other forays in nature, Stanborough Lakes are an excellent summer destination for open-water swimming. There are also several golf courses in easy reach.

There are many excellent restaurants in and surrounding Hatfield, including Brocket Hall with its wonderful park. Osprey in nearby St Albans is a purveyor of beautiful furniture, adjoined to the San Lorenzo Italian café and deli.

There are a number of excellent schools nearby, including multiple Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated primary and secondary schools.

Hatfield Station can be reached on foot in approximately 10 minutes, where direct trains run to London King’s Cross in approximately 25 minutes and London Moorgate in around 40.

Tenure: Leasehold
Lease Length: approx. 940 years
Service Charge: approx. £550 per annum
Ground Rent: approx. £50 per annum
Council Tax Band: E

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.


The design of narrow frontage single-storey houses on the Cockaigne Housing Group development drew inspiration from Danish models and the efforts of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Research and Development Group, spearheaded by Cleeve Barr and Oliver Cox, where both Randall and Parkes contributed.

The Ryde implemented a flexible two-bay layout, enabling various configurations that could include one to four bedrooms and one or more internal patios to enhance light and ventilation in the core of the homes.

Built in the early 1960s, the scheme celebrates much of what mid-century architecture championed: a relationship with the outdoors, natural materials and a strong sense of community. There is a shared community house on the plot that, for 20 years, served as a nursery school for the houses on the estate. In 1964, the scheme won an Architectural Design Project Award.

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