The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Celebrated Herne Hill Art Deco house listed

10 Dorchester Drive, in South London’s Herne Hill. Built in 1935-36 and Grade II listed in June 2022.

Image: John East

A remarkably well preserved Art Deco house in South London, has just been Grade II listed following a vocal campaign by local conservation groups and intense lobbying by C20 Society.

10 Dorchester Drive in Herne Hill was built in 1935-36 by Leslie H Kemp and Frederick E Tasker in collaboration with the builders Messrs Morrell. The house is based on the architects’ winning design for the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition in 1934, which was exhibited in a setting titled ‘Village of Tomorrow’, and is one of only two known examples in the UK, both of which are now Grade II* listed.

Image: John East

Having been in the same ownership for 60 years, the property was recently sold (for £1.6 million), and in a borough with some of the highest average house prices in the capital, it inevitably attracted the interest of property developers. The house was locally listed but doesn’t lie in or near any conservation areas and as such had no protection from alteration or demolition.

After the new owner indicated to neighbours their intention to redevelop the site, C20 Society lobbied Lambeth Council to issue a BPN (Building Preservation Notice), with objections also coming from the Herne Hill Society and a raft independent experts like Deborah Sugg-Ryan.

Once issued in February 2022, the BPN offered crucial interim protection for the house ahead of a full listing assessment by Historic England. We’re delighted that the Department for Culture Media and Sport has now accepted our recommendations and awarded Grade II listed status to 10 Dorchester Drive.

Image: Historic England

The house design was originally marketed as one that could be built anywhere with customisable design features, offering clients on a modest budget an affordable slice of modern living. Surviving original features include a ‘sun-trap’ bay window and the ‘luxurious’ bathroom with separate shower. The compact but flexible plan allows for the ground-floor rooms to be opened out into one long entertainment space.
The house remains relatively untouched and was owned by the same family for more than 60 years until it was recently sold. In February 2022, a Building Preservation Notice (BPN) was put in place by Lambeth Council to prevent any demolition and for the building’s significance to be assessed fully.

This new listing joins two other Grade II-listed buildings on the same street, Dorchester Court and Dorchester House, which were also collaborations between Kemp and Tasker and the Morrell brothers. Together these buildings form an important group illustrating a range of 1930s approaches to residential buildings on a single street.

Image: Historic England

Image: Historic England