Widow's sadness over loss of house

A WOMAN has spoken of her sadness at the prospect of her former home, hailed as being ahead of its time when built half a century ago, being demolished.

A WOMAN has spoken of her sadness at the prospect of her former home, hailed as being ahead of its time when built half a century ago, being demolished.

Catherine Harding whose late husband Douglas Harding, the famous writer and philosopher, designed and built the property said she would have loved to have been able to keep the house.

“He left half of it to me and half to his ex-wife, who wanted to sell it. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough money to buy it and do what needs to be done to maintain it,” said Mrs Harding.

Shollond Hill, in Levington Road, Nacton, was the epitome of fashion when it was built in 1955.

Its open-plan living, huge floor to roof glass windows, and modern appliances, fixtures and fittings were very different from traditional style homes at a time when Pop Art was emerging and architecture was taking great strides.

“I lived there until last October and it is certainly not derelict,” said Mrs Harding, who now lives nearby at Under Shollond.

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“When it was built it was absolutely gorgeous. It was very striking and an amazing design - especially for the 50s.

“I would have loved to have been able to continue living there.

“It probably needs a little bit of maintenance to bring it up to standards people expect now but it will be a huge shame if it is demolished, very sad.”

She would rather see it restored to its former glory and felt it could be extended to provide a modern family home.

Suffolk Preservation Society has objected to the demolition proposal and is urging Suffolk Coastal District Council to apply for the building to be listed and save it. The society was not against a sympathetic, well-designed and appropriately located, modest extension.

The council has not yet made its decision on whether current owners, Bermac Properties, of Chelmsford, can knock down the house and replace it with a new home with outbuildings and a swimming-pool.

The owners say the building is “beyond saving” and surrounding trees had upset the foundations, causing cracks through the house.

Mr Harding died last year aged 98 and was known internationally for his reflections on life, especially his philosophical thinking called The Headless Way.

Is Shollond Hill worth keeping? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk