How we create our homes and the spaces around them reflects our constantly evolving lifestyles, needs and social trends.
Here we take a look at 5 ways of living that broke the mould:
1. Kinver Edge Rock Houses, Staffordshire
Cut into the local sandstone, these dwellings were inhabited until the 1960s – the last caves in England to have been lived in. Although it is difficult to know exactly when they were constructed, there is an Iron Age hillfort on the same ridge which dates back to at least 200BC, so this area has long been a centre of human activity. It is thought locally that the caves may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbit houses.
2. St Ann’s Allotments (Hungerhill Gardens, Stonepit Coppice Gardens and Gorseyclose Gardens) Nottingham
In the heart of Nottingham, the oldest and largest area of Victorian detached town gardens covers 75 acres of land. A home away from home for residents of densely occupied cities, St Ann’s allotments still provide a much-loved resource for people living in Nottingham.
3. The Barbican Estate, City of London
A key example of Brutalist architecture, The Barbican was built as a utopian vision of how high-density living could be integrated with schools, shops, restaurants and cultural venues. The coarse concrete surfaces of three towers and thirteen terrace blocks were built between 1965 and 1976. Occupying a bomb ravaged site at the northern end of the City of London, raised pedestrian walkways around elevated gardens combine to make the Barbican Estate one of the most distinctive housing projects from the era of post-war reconstruction.
4. Grove Road Housing Scheme, Nottinghamshire
The Independent Living Movement of the early 70’s campaigned that disabled people should be able to live in their own homes rather than in institutions against their will. Disabled activists Maggie and Ken Davis met in 1972 as outpatients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital – they formed a cooperative to buy land and commissioned a housing scheme that suited their needs. They moved into what was thus called Grove Road Housing Scheme in 1976, pioneering independent living for disabled people.
5. Must Farm Bronze Age Roundhouses, Whittlesey
This incredibly well-preserved Bronze Age settlement provides an extraordinary time capsule of everyday life 3,000 years ago. Unearthed by archaeologists in 2016, what were once timber roundhouses on stilts above the marshy land of the Fens had been destroyed in a fire, collapsing into the river and preserving its contents.
Among the finds were finely woven textiles made from plant fibres, small cups, bowls and jars with past meals still inside. Archaeologists also found the earliest and largest complete Bronze Age wheel and exotic glass beads – hinting at sophisticated trade routes with the continent.
Back in August, we asked for the public’s help to put together a list of Homes & Gardens that tell England’s story. These 5 places were nominated by the public, but didn’t make it to our final list of 100 places. Learn more about the project here and how you can get involved.
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