The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Mervyn Seal at Parkham House, Brixham
Architect Mervyn Seal at Parkham House, Brixham (photo: Richard Pain)

South West

A weekend on the English Riviera – report

On the 19 and 20 March 40 members joined Jon Wright (former caseworker for the C20 Society) and Tony Stokoe (chairman of the Far-South West group) to explore the architecture of Mervyn Seal on the English Riviera.

Parkham House in Brixham was just one of the stops where we were privileged to be joined by Mervyn himself – he is shown pictured inside this house. It is one of the ‘butterfly roof’ houses for which he is famous. Other visits included Oakland Park in Dawlish, and Marina Park in Brixham. We finished the day with a drinks reception at Kaywana Hall, recently transformed from Mervyn’s original design into a contemporary house.

The second day focused mainly on William Lescaze, the architect of High Cross House on the Dartington Estate. A wander around the grounds discovering the hidden Lescaze houses and school buildings was followed by lunch and a tour of the estate gardens. We were given a talk by the CEO of Dartington Trust, Rhodri Samuel, in which he highlighted the financial problems the Trust is now suffering.

The weekend ended with a tour of High Cross House, which is now closed to the public and in a poor state of repair. As a result of this visit the staff at the C20 Society office, led by Director Catherine Croft, are now in discussion with Mr Samuel to advise on the best way of stabilising this important listed building.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in organising and running the weekend. Do visit our Facebook page to see more photos, and keep an eye out for a more detailed report in the coming months.

For your diary

Our next event will be on 25 June in and around the Tamar Valley and Plymouth. More details to come, but we will be visiting the Zed Factory/Bill Dunster-designed Tamar Valley Centre, near Gunnislake in Cornwall, and we hope to have a picnic in the grounds.

Tony Stokoe