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Dormer Cottage and garage

A Grade II Listed Building in Woking, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.301 / 51°18'3"N

Longitude: -0.5618 / 0°33'42"W

OS Eastings: 500363

OS Northings: 156744

OS Grid: TQ003567

Mapcode National: GBR FBS.8T4

Mapcode Global: VHFV8.6KWJ

Plus Code: 9C3X8C2Q+97

Entry Name: Dormer Cottage and garage

Listing Date: 3 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1442260

Location: Woking, Surrey, GU22

County: Surrey

District: Woking

Electoral Ward/Division: Hoe Valley

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Woking

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Woking St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

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Detached house, c1927, built by local developer, Evelyn Ricks. The adjacent garage was added in 1949.


Detached house, c1927, built by local Woking developer Evelyn Ricks.

MATERIALS: the building is of brick cavity wall construction. The front elevation is faced in multi-coloured red brick, and side and rear elevations are finished in unpainted roughcast render over a smooth render plinth. Windows are multi-light steel casements in timber sub-frames; those in more exposed positions have shallow clay-tile hoods. Doors are timber. The roof is covered in clay tiles and has painted timber barge-boards; rainwater goods are a mixture of cast iron and plastic.

PLAN: the building is set back from Bonsey Lane, with its principal elevation facing S. It is one-and-a-half storeys high, with upper rooms within the deep pitch of the gable-ended roof. There is an externally-expressed brick chimney stack to either end.

The house has a loosely symmetrical, four-square type, plan: two principal rooms to the front (S), and a kitchen and study, or third bedroom, to the back (N), divided E and W by a central hall and stair. Between the kitchen and study, at the back of the hall, is a larder, accessed from the kitchen, and a WC, accessed from the hall. The straight stair leads up to a small landing towards the back of the plan. From here there is access to the two bedrooms, one E, one W, and a bathroom which occupies a dormer-like space that projects upwards through the centre of the rear roof pitch.

EXTERIOR: the building’s principal elevation is a symmetrical arrangement of central entrance, flanked to either side by square bay windows, with dormer windows in the roof above. The brickwork is in red-brown brick laid in stretcher bond, evenly interspersed with bright red bricks. The deep pitch of the roof extends down over the heads of the bay windows, so sheltering the main face of the building. At either end of the elevation the eaves are supported on a shaped timber bracket, and the eaves soffit is boarded in painted timber. The depth of the eaves has the effect of creating a shallow entrance porch, almost as a vestigial veranda, between the bay windows. The porch floor is a low brick and tile plinth, reached via a central brick step. The front door has a high mid-rail, with six glazed lights over three vertical panels. A cast iron integral knocker and letter-box is probably contemporary with the door. Either side are multi-pane side-lights. The glazing in the door and side-lights is obscured, stipple-effect, glass. The two roof dormers are gabled, the cheeks are hung in clay tile and the gable ends are clad in black-stained, waney-edged, weather-board.

The rear elevation is characterised by the roof form: the steep pitch is interrupted at the centre by the dormer-like projection containing the bathroom; this breaks through the eaves, taking the rough-cast wall face up to a first-floor gable end. The bathroom and each of the ground-floor rooms is lit by a window, including a small symmetrical pair of casements in the centre, lighting the larder and WC.

The side elevations both have brick chimney stacks which divide into two flues below eaves level. The arched recesses between the two flues are occupied by a window to the E, and a door to the W. The door to the W gives garden access from the S-facing room on this side of the house (one of the principal living rooms). The door is half-glazed, with a flush panel of vertical boarding below. The door is possibly not original to the house, although the frame, and the semi-circular stone and brick steps leading up to it, almost certainly is. The E elevation also has a side door, this one with square brick steps, and giving garden access from the kitchen. The door is identical in style to the front door, including the stipple-effect glazing.

INTERIOR: each of the rooms, except the kitchen and bathroom, has a tiled fireplace; the tiles in shades of brown, green and grey. In the larger, S-facing, rooms on the ground floor, the fireplaces have arched rather than square openings, and timber surrounds with shaped brackets supporting a mantle-shelf; that in the W room is the slightly grander of the two, the surround also being panelled. These two rooms also have a chamfered axial ceiling beam with runout stops. The stair has a closed string, a square newel, rounded hand-rail, and pairs of stick balusters. Throughout the interior, simple moulded skirting boards, picture rails, curtain pelmets and architraves remain. In rooms with larger windows, the timber sub-frames have chamfered edges with runout stops. The internal doors have a high mid-rail, with a single upper panel, with three long vertical panels beneath. This style is repeated in the kitchen, where two sets of full-height built-in cupboards, and the larder, all have doors of this style. Almost all of the joinery, except that in the kitchen, is stained with a dark brown-black varnish.

Changes to the interior are notably the insertion of late-C20, or early-C21, kitchen units and sanitary-ware, and the interior of the larder has shelving of the same period.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: to the E of the house is a garage, added in 1949. This is executed in a similar palette of materials to the house. The front gable-end elevation is faced in red brick laid in stretcher bond. There is a shallow clay-tile hood over the pair of side-hung, vertically-planked, timber garage doors. To the sides and rear the garage is faced in unpainted roughcast render over a smooth render plinth. The main part of the garage is lit by a steel-framed window, and a timber planked door (currently removed from its hinges) leads to a store in the rear part of the building. The area to the immediate rear of the house is laid with ‘crazy’ paving. This is possibly an original feature, as crazy paving became popularised during the interwar period.

Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the late C20 timber garden shed to the N of the garage is not of special architectural or historic interest.


Dormer Cottage, originally named Conifers, was built in the late 1920s by local Woking developer, Evelyn Ricks (1885-1969). It was one of ten detached houses built by Ricks along Bonsey Lane, before he went on to build an estate of smaller houses to the N and E.

The modern town of Woking developed in the C19, following the opening in 1838 of the London to Southampton railway. From the later C19 suburban development headed steadily southwards, but the interwar period brought particular intensification, with housing spreading into open countryside, engulfing farms and hamlets. In 1925 Evelyn Ricks purchased Bonsey Farm, just over a mile to the S of Woking station. Building control registers of the former Woking Urban District Council show that between 1925 and 1930, Ricks submitted six applications to build a total of ten houses on the land to the N of Bonsey Lane, then a farm track. As the plans which correspond to the register entries have been lost, which application covers Dormer Cottage is unclear, but is speculated to be included in an approval for four of the ten houses, issued on 19 April 1927. The house is known to have been sold by Ricks to Earnest and Rose Russell in November 1931. By 1934, Ricks had completed the development of his ‘Westfield Farm Estate’, which mainly comprised smaller bungalows in new streets and cul-de-sacs to the N and E of Bonsey Lane. A contemporary advertisement for the houses offers for sale 'detached bungalows from £450 to £800 freehold'.

There is said to be an Anderson shelter in the garden of Dormer Cottage, although this was not inspected. Built to offer protection against German bombing raids during the Second World War, the shelter will date from c1940. In 1949 planning permission was granted for the addition of a garage to the side of Dormer Cottage (then Conifers); interestingly the applicant, and therefore probably the builder, was Ricks, although the owner was a J Yule.

The interwar suburban development of Woking followed a national trend. The war had intensified a pre-existing housing shortage, and the growth in white-collar work combined with the availability of credit, stoked demand from a new class of would-be owner-occupiers. The decline of agriculture saw farmland, now more accessible due to the rise of the motorcar and improved public transport, being bought by speculative developers who were subsidised by housing acts of 1919, 1923, and 1924. The period was thus one of unprecedented levels of house building and of growth in the property-owning classes.

An enthusiasm for finding cost-efficient, labour-saving forms of construction was shared by both a government facing serious housing shortages, and a busy commercial house-building sector. The concept of building houses low, with one, or one-and-a-half, storeys was recognised as a way to reduce the need for scaffolding, and placing accommodation within the roof space saved on materials and labour. The many low-slung house styles produced by developers, and commonly marketed as 'bungalows', were cheaper to build and were widely popular amongst buyers as a compact and convenient choice. At least twenty books on bungalows were published between 1918 and 1932, many illustrating architect’s designs for well-appointed, stylistically diverse, houses of one or one-and-a-half storeys, targeted at the middle-classes.

Built in great quantities, speculative housing of this period varies considerably in its architectural quality, as illustrated by the modest houses which made up the majority of Ricks' Westfield Farm Estate. In comparison with these, and many others of its contemporaries, Dormer Cottage is generously planned and detailed. Its compact one-and-a-half storey form is typical of its date, but here, the deep eaves, gabled roof and large dormers create a picturesque charm with clear vernacular references. Although unlikely to be the work of an architect, it is a considered piece of architectural design, with well-handled massing and proportion, and shows the prevailing influence of the Arts and Crafts movement. It is clearly an example at the higher end of the mass-housing market, targeted at a wealthier, more discerning purchaser. Its nine neighbours, also built along Bonsey Lane by Ricks, are likely to have had similar qualities (each is thought to have been slightly different), but their subsequent modification, or total replacement, obscures their original character, and typifies the fate of many buildings of this type.

Reasons for Listing

Dormer Cottage, a detached house of c1927 by local developer, Evelyn Ricks, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: in its generous planning, thoughtful use of materials and detailing, picturesque form and slightly eccentric features, Dormer Cottage is a modest but well-conceived example of the higher end of interwar mass-market speculative housing;
* Historic interest: as a built illustration of the important social, cultural and economic shift in the lives of a large segment of society, which moved from being tenants, to first-time owner-occupiers in unprecedented numbers in the interwar period;
* Level of survival: little-altered internally and externally, the unusual level of survival at Dormer Cottage reveals the quality and character of a building of this type and date, making it an important representative example in the national context.

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