The Twentieth Century Society

100 Buildings 100 Years

1955: Farnley Hey

Type: Housing
Architect: Peter Womersley
Location: Honley Road, Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire

One of Britain’s most celebrated mid-century modern houses, with spectacular views over the Pennines, Farnley Hey was designed by Peter Womersley as a wedding present to his brother. It has been maintained in remarkably original condition. When it was listed in 1998, English Heritage commented: ‘In style Farnley Hey suggests the influence of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright […] It typifies the best of the 1950s in its lightness, sense of the picturesque and optimistic stance.’

Farnley Hey is much documented, with attention drawn to the large floor-to-ceiling windows that bring light flooding into the house (as well as giving wonderful far-reaching views). Also much admired is Womersley’s exuberant use of materials – from camphorwood and York-stone flags for flooring to the lemon-yellow Formica panels. The defining room of the house – known as The Dancefloor thanks to its polished floors, inbuilt audio system and double-height ceiling – was originally designed for Womersley’s energetic parties and even for recording live music. The room also features floor-to-ceiling double-glazed windows.

by Albert Hill

Listing description