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Southdown

A Grade II Listed Building in South Milton, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.2597 / 50°15'35"N

Longitude: -3.8541 / 3°51'14"W

OS Eastings: 267936

OS Northings: 41617

OS Grid: SX679416

Mapcode National: GBR QB.M5PQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 28TB.VQ0

Plus Code: 9C2R745W+V9

Entry Name: Southdown

Listing Date: 4 February 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393660

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506986

Location: South Milton, South Hams, Devon, TQ7

County: Devon

Civil Parish: South Milton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Milton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Description

SOUTH MILTON

1304/0/10017 Southdown
04-FEB-10

II
Prefabricated bungalow. Circa 1923. S. E. Saunders Ltd.

MATERIALS: Prefabricated timber bungalow built on an iron frame, set in concrete. It is constructed of the proprietary plywood, Consuta. The external walls are covered in cement and the copper roof has been replaced with roofing felt. To the eaves are iron brackets.

PLAN: Dodecagonal (12 sided) bungalow, with alternating rectangular projections, of approximately 11 metres in diameter.

EXTERIOR: The dodecagonal prefabricated bungalow has a timber dodecagonal roof light to the centre. To the principal north-east elevation a timber walkway with balustrade leads to the panelled front door with rectangular fanlight above and single light windows to either side. All of the original window openings survive but many of the metal window frames have been replaced. The prefabricated bungalow is connected to a more conventional bungalow extension to the south-east by a short linking passage.

INTERIOR: Steps and a small walkway lead to the entrance door which in turn opens into an entrance hall. Double doors open into a central dining lounge with a central hexagonal pattern which is lit from above by a dodecagonal roof lantern. Three segmental bedrooms (one now a sitting room) open off this central space. To the north side of the entrance hall is a small utility room, which was originally a bathroom, and on the same side a short passage leads to a bedroom, originally the drawing room. To the south of the entrance hall is a short passage which opens onto a small kitchen, originally a servant's bedroom; and the bathroom, which was originally the kitchen with integral larder. The passage extends as a curving corridor with a door leading to the linking passage to the bungalow extension. The interior retains many of its original light and electrical fittings, and door furniture.

HISTORY: The design for Southdown was included at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition in 1923 as part of an associated "Bungalow Town" display which considered new materials and techniques as a way of solving the post-World War I housing shortage. It was designed by S. E. Saunders of Cowes, Isle of Wight, using his patented "Consuta" plywood which had been a pioneering material widely used in British aviation. It is likely that Saunders departed from his core business to design the bungalow to promote the value of Consuta for panel work, as referred to in the Ideal Home Exhibition guide. Besides Southdown the only other known example of Saunder's Consuta bungalow was at Newport, Isle of Wight, which has recently been demolished.

Consuta, comprising four veneers of mahogany planking interleaved with waterproofed calico and stitched together with copper wire, was a revolutionary form of construction for lightweight watertight hulls for boats and marine aircraft. The technique was patented by Samuel Saunders of Goring-on-Thames and first used to build a steam launch in 1898; this technique remained in use until suitable waterproof glues for making marine ply became available in the 1950s. In 1901 S. E. Saunders Ltd moved to the Isle of Wight and expanded rapidly, moving to larger premises in East Cowes in 1909. The company made motor yachts and hydroplane racing craft, some of them record breaking. They also built Britain's first airship HMA1 May Fly, as Consuta was found to be an ideal material for building aircraft. Among the first was the Batboat, a biplane flying boat built for Thomas Sopwith, which in July 1913 became the first British aeroplane to make six five-mile return flights within five hours.
Southdown was purchased by the Fleming banking family and brought back from the Ideal Home Exhibition in or shortly after 1923. It was erected on its current site in South Milton along with the linked bungalow extension, and was originally known as Newholmes. The external timber walls were rendered in the 1930s. In 1952 the house was sold to a Mr Ronaldson, who probably replaced the copper roof with roofing felt. In 1972 it was sold to John Goodwin, who set up a covenant with The National Trust and bequeathed it to the present owner in 2008. The covenant set up in 1973 covered the property and surrounding farmland, largely to the east, and requires that no alteration shall be made to the exterior of the building without written consent from the Trust. It appears that this does not extend to the interior.


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Southdown is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The design of the house featured in the 1923 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and is an early example of the pre-fabricated holiday home for the middle classes
* It is the only known surviving example of a patented Consuta bungalow by S. E. Saunders Ltd
* It uses the innovative Consuta, a veneered plywood which was a pioneering material for boat building and British aircraft, in a domestic building.
* It has an unusual dodecagonal plan form with rooms radiating off a central space
* It has an intact interior which retains its Consuta panelling, light and electrical fittings, and door furniture

Reasons for Listing

Southdown is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The design of the house featured in the 1923 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and is an early example of the pre-fabricated holiday home for the middle classes
* It is the only known surviving example of a patented Consuta bungalow by S. E. Saunders Ltd
* It uses the innovative Consuta, a veneered plywood which was a pioneering material for boat building and British aircraft, in a domestic building.
* It has an unusual dodecagonal plan form with rooms radiating off a central space
* It has an intact interior which retains its Consuta panelling, light and electrical fittings, and door furniture

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